While large, multi-national insurance companies like AIG are struggling to stay solvent, one workers compensation carrier in Texas is doing quite well. Texas Mutual Insurance Company is the largest workers compensation insurer in the state. It was created in 1991 by the Texas Legislature because of the lack of insurers doing business in Texas. In 2001 the Texas Legislature redesigned their charter and they became a mutual insurance company. What this means is that the company is owned by the policy holders rather than being a publicly held corporation. What this also means is that instead of paying dividends to stock holders, it pays dividends to its policy holders.
Yesterday, Texas Mutual Insurance Company announced they were paying $818,000 in dividends to policy holders in the retail and construction purchasing groups. What this means is that retailers like Walmart or construction companies like Linbeck Construction, if they have workers compensation insurance with Texas Mutual, enjoyed a rebate check from Texas Mutual for the financial success Texas Mutual is experiencing. This announcement comes on the heels of a $446,000 dividend payment in November to policyholders in the manufacturing group.
Even more significant was the announcement by Texas Mutual that in the past ten years they have paid policyholders more than half a billion dollars in dividends. Those familiar with Texas politics are aware that the favorite whipping boy of the insurance industry and the Texas Legislature is the workers compensation industry. While Texas Mutual is enjoying healthy profits, in the last ten years claimants have seen increasing restrictions to their right to recover benefits.