Rick J. Lindsey is the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of Prime Insurance Company and Prime Property & Casualty Inc. Mr. Lindsey is a licensed surplus lines broker in all 50 states and U.S. territories with nearly 40 years of expertise in excess and surplus lines, property and casualty insurance underwriting, risk management, brokerage and claims management.
Lindsey’s experience has been critical to how Prime Insurance Company has handled the challenges and market disruptions over the past few years.
“Prime Insurance Company is an excess and surplus lines specialty liability company,” he said. “While many others in our industry seem to take solace — and make excuses — in repeating how challenging the last couple of years have been, we have accepted and met these challenges head on and enjoyed record levels of production and expansion.”
PIC’s underwriting protocol follows simple but important guidelines, such as not competing with low pricing and exclusionary terms, but by providing services that work in today’s heavy litigation environment and ensuring the creation and maintenance of close working relationships with clients.
“Our partnership approach with producers is of the utmost importance,” he said. “We have started a profit-sharing program that is based on several factors of production and profitability.”
In 2021, Prime Insurance Company reported a combined ratio of 74.8% on net earned premium of $150 million, and Prime Property & Casualty reported a combined ratio of 72.6% on $110 million in net earned premium.
“I have been asked many times how Prime can be profitable while insuring high-risk businesses with unique underwriting characteristics that other companies won’t touch,” he said. “The answer isn’t anything magical. It is simply executing first-class business practices such as getting the little things right; knowing and collaborating with the customer in a real partnership; fighting for the customer; training, enabling, and motivating capable employees to perform well; and creating a business culture of excellence and pride.”
Lindsey said quality control and service are of the utmost importance and all business processes are executed in-house, including underwriting, policy issuance, risk management, legal work and claims adjudication. Prime provides “full contact” customer service with clients receiving regular visits and communications. Clients have 24/7 accessibility and support because bad things can happen.
“I am personally available to all clients and employees at all hours,” he said. “I provide my personal cell phone number to everyone and have instructed staff that when a client calls, for any reason, I will talk to them.”
A major business differentiator regarding Prime is Lindsey’s willingness to fight for clients in court against plaintiff attorneys, rather than quickly settle frivolous or exaggerated claims. He believes the industry’s inclination to settle even frivolous lawsuits has damaged the industry and the people and businesses who are insured.
“The rush to settle encourages frivolous lawsuits and higher settlement demands, resulting in a downward spiral in fairness and costing more in the long run,” he said. “The industry is threatened by a tsunami of litigation that increases the cost of insurance and makes companies fearful of insuring high-risk activities. While I have no hesitancy to settle claims when warranted, I will go to court and fight hard for clients who are in the right, even if it costs more than settling. Prime is not afraid of the legal system and is not afraid of spending money to win in court. Prime does not allow its clients to be taken advantage of. Prime reverses the pressure and tactics of the plaintiff lawyers. It will cost them more to fight Prime.”
Lindsey expects nothing from anyone he is not willing to do himself. “I am in the trenches with employees and clients every day,” he said. “Countless times I say, ‘Call me, conference me in when a client has a problem.’ Accessibility is key. Every employee and every customer have my cell phone number, and I take calls any time, including at night, on weekends and holidays.”
Lindsey’s methods have created a culture and vision for Prime, of which the company can be proud and conjured a laser-like focus on discipline, sound fundamentals and problem-solving.
“Our associates are motivated professionals who know how to execute this vision,” he said. “Excellent quality control is ensured because all business processes are executed in-house.”
“Prime is affecting the relationship between carrier, producer, and insureds with its significantly lower-than-average loss ratio, which are results of the partnerships formed with policyholders during underwriting and risk management review. “Case management is enhanced through this partnership approach,” he said. “We engage all stakeholders and demand complete transparency by all concerned. With this approach, we are changing the insurance world.”
The result is that even though Prime ensures categories and enterprises that engage in risky activities other companies reject; the company performs far above average because of its unique ability to supply a stable market beyond the boundaries of other insurance carriers and opens options for a larger book of business.
“Fact is, Prime excels in hard-to-place risks that have an elevated or atypical exposure to liability, and are typically rejected, declined or canceled by carriers on the standard market,” he said. “Instead of canceling insureds when they have losses, often through no fault of their own, we set out to help them. They have learned to trust Prime as a reliable long-term partner, especially when they receive an exaggerated claim or a frivolous lawsuit calling for a robust defense.”
Today, Prime covers over 700 risk classes, including property, commercial trucking, commercial liability, professional liability property, outfitters and guides, parachuting, bungee jumping, avalanche experts, rock climbing, river running, bounce houses, gymnastics, aerial arts, heli-skiing and more. Prime can insure just about anything, such as corn mazes, acro-yoga, guard dogs, circuses, exotic pets, taverns, dating websites, midwives, hot air balloons, water parks, trampoline parks, firearms concealed carry permit holders and many more.
“Prime’s in-house claims professionals, many of whom are hand-picked lawyers or experienced negotiators, are committed to providing a vigorous defense against fraudulent or non-meritorious litigation and pride themselves in working closely with our clients,” Lindsey said. “Our robust claims defense strategy enables us to tackle head on today’s aggressive plaintiff bar and nuclear verdicts that have caused underwriting unprofitability for so many carriers.”
Lindsey said he expects the state of the market in the future, in this everlasting Covid environment, to be rewarding by providing more help and service to clients, enabling them and Prime to emerge from these challenges stronger and more resilient than ever.
“During this time, we have found opportunities everywhere, from small personal lines to complex commercial and captive self-insurance partnerships,” he said. “They all present opportunities for the right team players with partnerships that are based on a strategy and a plan the team executes at the right time while not folding to frivolous litigation attacks.”
“There are always emerging risks and challenges in the marketplace, but if met with professionalism, stating the true as-is state of the risk, problem-solving and a proven strategy, there can be high rewards for those who care about providing true insurance solutions and partnerships, Lindsey said. “The ‘state of the market’ may be hard — but that’s an environment in which we flourish,” he said.
Prime Insurance Company conducts business nationwide with offices in Salt Lake City, Chicago, Philadelphia, Naples, and Florida. Prime is rated A (Excellent) by A.M. Best*.
Mr. Lindsey is also the broker manager of XINSURANCE which is a dba of Evolution Insurance Brokers, LC.
Lindsey is also an entrepreneur, pilot, outdoorsman, and philanthropist who regularly donates to charities, food banks, military and law enforcement fund raisers, and other agencies and organizations.
To know more about Rick J. Lindsey and the Prime Insurance companies visit https://www.primeis.com