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Eastern Alliance Insurance Group opens facility in Grandville

Pennsylvania insurer specializes in workers’ compensation claims.

July 18, 2014
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Eastern Alliance
Eastern Alliance Insurance Group’s new Michigan office is located in the Millennium Building in Grandville. Courtesy Eastern Alliance Insurance Group

After dipping its toes in the water in neighboring Indiana, an insurance group specializing in workers’ compensation is ready to take the plunge in Michigan.

Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, a domestic casualty insurance company headquartered in Lancaster, Pa., announced two weeks ago it is expanding its geographic presence to Michigan with the opening of a satellite office at 3980 Chicago Drive SW, Grandville, in the Millennium Building.

As a casualty insurance company specializing in workers’ compensation products and services, EAI Group provides multiple programs and plans for businesses, including guaranteed cost programs, loss-sensitive dividend plans, large deductible plans and retrospective rating plans.

Several of the exclusive brands and programs EAI Group uses include: ParallelPay, a “pay-as-you-go” premium payment plan; Unite underwriting and services for small businesses; and Inova, an alternative market insurance. Additional services offered include third-party administration, risk management, claim management and a non-traditional markets program.

Chad Legner, regional business executive at EAI Group, said the workers’ compensation firm focuses on one line of coverage and is then able to add value through the comprehensive services provided.

“The monoline of loan coverage of insurance provides Eastern with a specialist tagline. I think what Eastern brings to the table is a track record of performance in the workers’ compensation marketplace where the results speak a little bit louder than words,” said Legner. “Whether it is from a rating perspective or from an actual physical financial result, we find ourselves being in a unique position.”

EAI Group has four regional offices with multiple satellite locations, and in 2011 expanded several Indiana agency contracts with a Michigan agency presence. The decision to open a new facility in Michigan became part of the company’s expanded approach in 2012 to be engaged in the Michigan marketplace, according to Legner.

“We started to experience the Michigan workers’ compensation environment. It just so happens that right off the bat we found ourselves with a presence of independent agency representation in Grand Rapids, and subsequent policy holders had that theme, as well,” said Legner.

“We have evolved to include other agency contracts in other parts of Michigan. It just so happened that Grand Rapids seems to be the logical spot for us, based off of those original days of being a Michigan underwriter.”

EAI Group’s decision to move into the Michigan marketplace also was due to the vicinity of its Indiana offices and handling state law jurisdiction nuances for workers’ compensation, Legner said.

“Workers’ compensation is very much jurisdictional from state to state,” he said. “In Michigan, we go through a very thorough state due diligence process on an annual basis due to our proximity in Carmel (Ind.), and the due diligence that we went through as far as the state of Michigan — it seemed like the next great place for Eastern to be.”

The 3,100-square-foot Grandville facility is a five-year lease for the insurance company, which will accommodate underwriting, marketing, claims and risk management professionals. EAI Group has appointed 14 agency partners since 2011, according to the press release.

“It will provide us with Michigan domicile employees we had working out of their homes to consolidate and be in a brick-and-mortar facility. I think long-term agents that represent the company, as well as future or prospective clients, will take to the fact that Eastern has fully committed itself to the Michigan marketplace,” said Legner.

“We hired local talent from the area, which again is kind of a component of committing yourself to a state — finding staff members that know the area, know the industry — and again we have done that remotely and now we can give them a place to set up.”

Bob Gilpin, senior vice president of field operations and marketing at EAI Group, said the company will rely on its employees’ expertise in Michigan.

“We truly believe that worker compensation is a local play; a lot of our competitors will manage states from afar,” said Gilpin. “We believe it is important to be here, and that is why we are setting up the satellite office with local people.”

The insurance company hosted an open house July 16 at its new facility.

EAI Group also announced the arrival of new billboards in July throughout the greater Grand Rapids region with the slogan “Fresh outlooks, better outcomes,” according to its press release.

EAI Group became a subsidiary of ProAssurance Corp. in January 2014. The publicly held insurance group specializes in professional liability for physicians, allied health professionals, health care facilities and lawyers. The two insurance companies recognized cross-selling opportunities in the overlapping area of writing health care business in professional liability and workers’ compensation, according to EAI.

Founded in 1997, EAI Group also has offices in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Indiana, Tennessee, Virginia and Mississippi.

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