News and Information …

News Release: Retailers Insurance Company grows from Retailers Mutual

Retailers Insurance Company - Friday, October 24, 2014

LANSING – Retailers Mutual Insurance Company is now Retailers Insurance Company, a move requested by Retailers Mutual and approved by state regulators on October 23, 2014.

All new and renewed policies and future correspondence will reflect the new name.

The change is more than just in name, said James P. Hallan, president and CEO of both Retailers Insurance Company and Michigan Retailers Association.

“The move to Retailers Insurance Company represents a change in corporate structure that enables the company to grow at an even faster rate in the future and provide additional benefits to policyholders,” Hallan said.

The new structure includes a holding company that can issue stock to raise additional capital for expansion, new technology and other growth-oriented activities.

Retailers Mutual policyholders approved the change at the August 19 Annual Meeting at the Michigan Retailers Association headquarters in downtown Lansing. The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services gave final approval on October 23 after approving it conditionally in April. The Retailers Mutual board had unanimously recommended policyholder approval.

The change will be seamless for policyholders, and there are no significant operating changes planned for the immediate future, Hallan said. Changes and additional benefits will occur over time.

News Release: Retailers Insurance Adds SpeedBuilder Systems’ BindExpress Policy Suite

Retailers Insurance Company - Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Columbia, S.C. – January 17, 2014 – SpeedBuilder Systems, Inc. today announced that Michigan-based Retailers Mutual is live with workers’ compensation on the BindExpress Policy Suite.  The entirely web-based system will enable agents and underwriters to collaborate seamlessly with once-and-done processing for all insurance transactions – from new business quoting to renewals.

"Among other benefits, the new system provides a complete point-of-service solution that now includes electronic underwriting, instant on-screen pricing, and same-day turnaround," said James P. Hallan, President and CEO of Retailers.  “The easy-to-use yet robust platform will enable us to compete side-by-side with literally any carrier – even the nationals.”

“We are pleased to add Retailers Mutual to our family of success stories,” said Rod Giess, President of SpeedBuilder Systems.  “This implementation proved the value of the numerous configuration options we built into BindExpress, greatly reducing the time, cost, and risk of the project, yet enabling us to deliver a solution tailored to Retailer’s specific needs. As important, Retailers will be able to adapt quickly when market needs change in the future.”

About SpeedBuilder Systems
SpeedBuilder Systems, Inc. ( offers large enterprise-class solutions for small-to-medium sized P&C insurance carriers.  The BindExpress Suite is an integrated set of components including policy administration, rating, automated underwriting, agent and consumer portals, product configuration, billing, automated workflow, analytics, and document generation. Built using open source technologies, the BindExpress Suite improves ease-of-doing-business for both consumers and professionals, reduces the time-to-market for delivering new products, and extends the life of both new and legacy systems.

News Release: Retailers Insurance Adds Sales And Marketing Professional

Retailers Insurance Company - Thursday, November 14, 2013

LANSING – Retailers Mutual Insurance Company has added a nationally recognized sales and marketing professional to its growth-oriented team.

President and CEO James P. Hallan announced the hiring of Teresa Breed as Director, Insurance Sales.

“We’re excited about Teresa letting us talk her into joining Retailers Mutual and about the team we have built to accelerate our company’s growth,” Hallan said. “Her state and national awards are testament to her achievements and professionalism.”

Breed joins Tom Tuggle, Senior Vice President Insurance Sales and Membership, and Kurt Dettmer, recently hired Senior Vice President Insurance Sales and Business Development, in working directly with Independent Agents.

She comes to Retailers Mutual from Fremont Insurance, where she was Marketing Manager. She previously was Senior Marketing Representative for Titan Insurance Company and an Independent Agency manager. 

This year Breed was the Michigan Association of Professional Insurance Agents (MIPIA) nominee for national sales rep of the year award. In 2005 she received the national sales rep award for the Nationwide Insurance Companies, and in 2002 received the Michigan Insurance Agents (MIA) Young Agents Council Master Award.

Breed is a licensed Agent, and she and her husband are Cheboygan residents.

Retailers Mutual Insurance Company was established in 2006 by the conversion of Michigan Retailers Association’s Retailers Fund workers’ compensation program. The mutual company provides workers’ compensation and dental insurance to Michigan businesses of all types.

Note: A high-resolution photo of Teresa Breed is available from Laura Schilling at or 800.366.3699 ext. 313.

News Release: Retailers Insurance Adds Sales And Marketing Executive

Retailers Insurance Company - Tuesday, November 12, 2013

LANSING – In a move that reflects both the company’s solid record of sales growth and plans to aggressively increase market share, Retailers Mutual Insurance Company has added another highly accomplished sales and marketing executive.

President and CEO James P. Hallan announced the hiring of Kurt Dettmer as Senior Vice President Insurance Sales and Business Development. 

“Kurt is a proven insurance professional, and we’re pleased to have him on board to help Retailers Mutual move to the next levels,” said Hallan. “The company has a bright future.”

Dettmer joins Retailers Mutual after serving as Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Fremont Insurance Company in Fremont. During his tenure at Fremont, the company increased direct written premium to $117 million from $28 million over a 10-year period. 

A licensed Agent in P&C and Personal lines, he also previously worked for The ASU Group in Okemos as a TPA and multi-lines claims adjuster.

Dettmer will work closely with Hallan and Tom Tuggle, Senior Vice President Sales and Membership. He is a graduate of Ferris State University, where he received his degree in insurance and real estate management.

A Macomb Township resident, he is the father of two sons.

Retailers Mutual Insurance Company was established in 2006 by the conversion of Michigan Retailers Association’s Retailers Fund workers’ compensation program. The mutual company provides workers’ compensation and dental insurance to Michigan businesses of all types. 

Reviewing Claims

Retailers Insurance Company - Saturday, February 11, 2012

by John Godfrey
Retired jeweler and former board member

Few policyholders realize how carefully the Retailers Insurance board considers and reviews each work comp claim. It is this process that enables us to be successful — settling claims efficiently and fairly, and disputing claims when warranted in order to control costs and discourage frivolous claims.

When an injury occurs, the employer files a report with Sedgwick Claims Management Services, our partner in processing claims. Our Sedgwick representative does the homework, collecting more information on the incident if necessary.

He provides a case history, including a recommendation, for each claim to the board’s Claims Committee about a week before the committee meets, allowing us time to review the claims and prepare questions.

The committee meets by conference call to review every claim, major or minor. If the claim is straightforward and the compensation will be less than $7,500, the committee can decide it; otherwise, it will go before the full Board of Directors, which hears the committee’s summary of the case before reaching a decision.

The committee will query Sedgwick about its recommendations, and sometimes we query attorneys as well. Sometimes we accept Sedgwick’s recommendations, but often we seek additional guidance on whether to raise or lower the award, or to do additional investigation before deciding.

We are not simply deciding whether the claim is valid or how much to award — we might also look for other partners in the claim. For example, after a slip-and-fall injury due to an icy walkway, we check whether the business owns the property or leases it, in which case the landlord might be a partner in a settlement or litigation.

The total number of years and experience on our five-member Claims Committee is very high. Most of us have served for 10 years or more and also have many years of retail and other business experience; a few are newer to the committee, gaining experience for when the older members leave the board.

For example, when a case is from a jewelry store, I might have questions about statements made in a claim, based on my experience as a jeweler. Others on the board have their own experiences to draw on. And all of us know the ins and outs of running a business. It is this practical experience with all types of business that enables our claims review to be thorough and fair.

Any insurance company can offer competitive pricing, but few others offer the unique combination of experience and understanding of work comp and small business in general that Retailers Mutual provides.

Lowering My “MOD”

Retailers Insurance Company - Saturday, January 21, 2012

Do you know what your “mod” is and why it’s important for determining how much you pay for workers’ compensation insurance?

You should, because that knowledge can help you reduce your cost of work comp — or at least understand why your cost went up.

In work comp, each insured business gets its own experience modification rating, more commonly known as the “mod.” This rating, usually expressed in a number either less than, equal to or greater than 1, provides either a discount from or an addition to the rate an average business of that class of business would get.

The standard insurance rate for your type of business is multiplied by the mod to determine your actual premium. So you can see that the lower your mod, the lower your insurance premium. When it comes to your mod, lower is always better.

The complex formula for determining your mod is set by the Michigan Rating and Inspection Bureau. It takes into account various rating factors, especially your claims experience, payroll and premium. Generally speaking, the more payroll you have and the fewer claims, the lower your mod.

The most important thing to remember is that your mod is based on the cost and safety record of your business and is, therefore, under the control of your business.

One of the most important things you can do to reduce your mod from year to year is to improve workplace safety and reduce claims. The severity and frequency of your claims directly impact whether your mod rises or falls from year to year.

Some analysts believe that a history of small, recurring claims can have a greater negative impact on your mod than one large claim. Why? Because it suggests that a continuing problem exists at your business. Which is why you need to pay special attention to repeat accidents.

Taking every reasonable step to improve the safety environment of your workplace can pay off in a lower mod and the resulting lower work comp premium.

Do I Need Work Comp Insurance?

Retailers Insurance Company - Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Michigan, all private employers must have work comp coverage if:

  • They regularly employ three or more workers at one time; or

  • During the preceding 52 weeks they have regularly employed at least one worker for 35 hours or more per week for 13 weeks or longer.

All public employers must have coverage.

Any other employer can voluntarily choose to buy work comp coverage. By doing so, the employer is protected against being sued in the event a worker is injured on the job.

Michigan has special provisions that apply to contractors, subcontractors and sole proprietors. Details on these provisions are available here.

So, why do I need coverage?

Work comp is an employee’s “exclusive remedy” to offset the paid and lost time of a work-related injury or illness. In exchange for prompt payment of wage-loss benefits and medical treatment, employees give up the right to sue their employers for damages.

From the employer’s perspective, work comp provides protection against the potentially ruinous cost of lengthy lawsuits filed by injured employees. Damages for such suits could reach into the millions of dollars.

In fact, even employers who may be exempt may find that voluntarily providing work comp benefits is the best way to protect workers and the business against the costs of work-related injuries.

Employers forfeit the protections of the work comp laws when they deliberately cause injury to an employee. An employer is considered to have intended an injury if the employer knew that an injury was “certain to occur and willfully disregarded that knowledge,” according to the law.

How Work Comp Protects You

Retailers Insurance Company - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

You’ve probably been told that as a Michigan employer you are required by law to carry workers’ compensation insurance. But do you know why, and how the system works to protect you and your employees?

Here are the basics, according to the state’s Michigan Business Guide to Workers’ Comp.

Work comp is an insurance system, mutually beneficial to both employees and their employers. It serves two basic purposes:

  • To provide benefits to employees who have suffered a work-related injury or illness; and
  • To protect employers from costly litigation over claims of work-related injuries and illnesses.

Michigan’s work comp program is regarded as one of the strongest in the nation. Benefits to the injured employee can include one or more of the following:

  • Appropriate medical treatment
  • Partial replacement of lost income in cases where an employee is unable to work for more than seven days (or death benefits paid to dependent survivors in the event of a fatal injury or illness); and
  • Vocational rehabilitation so the injured worker can return to gainful employment as quickly as possible.

Work comp is the oldest form of no-fault insurance. First established in Germany in 1856 and adopted soon after by England and most of Western Europe, work comp insurance was enacted in Michigan in 1912. By 1920, all but eight of the other states had passed work comp laws.

Work comp is “no fault” in the sense that benefits are paid without regard to who or what caused or contributed to an injury or illness that “arises out of, or in the course of, employment.” Before this system was established, an employer could be sued for negligence and could only defend against such lawsuits by proving that the employee was at least partially at fault, that a fellow employee contributed to the injury, or that the employee assumed the risk of potential injury by accepting the job.

That’s why we say work comp protects both you and your employees.

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