Born and raised in a small town north of Baton Rouge, David said he “was the son of two LSU graduates, so you can probably guess where I went to school.” After earning a degree in business and marketing, he started his career as an insurance adjuster.
“Frankly, the money was good, and I got a company car,” he said. “For me, that was a slam dunk.”
After a successful career in that role, he eventually gravitated to workers’ comp, and has never looked back. Along with 2 partners, he founded LUBA 25 years ago, because he saw what he defined as a “ground floor opportunity” to make a serious and lasting positive contribution to the whole area of workers’ comp insurance.
“In those days, workers’ comp coverage was expensive and hard to get,” he said. “I can proudly say that because of a number of factors, workers’ comp costs today are far more reasonable on a comparative basis than they were 30 years ago.”
He suggested that workplace safety has improved dramatically during the past several decades.
“Technology has helped a lot in that respect,” he said. “Companies have made important commitments to educating their work forces on the need for safety, and quality control has improved across the board as a result.”
LUBA markets its coverage through an independent agency network, and maintains contracts directly with independent agents. From the company’s start in 1991, LUBA has grown to a point where it generates over $80 million in premiums, serves 4,000 clients, and has more than 100 employees. The company, based in Louisiana, has expanded to Mississippi, Arkansas, and is now making a major push into the big nut—Texas.
“We really do see great opportunities on the horizon for our company,” David said. “While our focus will probably remain in the South, there are other states that may be on our horizon.”
Having grown rapidly in Mississippi, I asked him what they like about doing business in the Magnolia State.
“This really is a great place to do business,” he said. “The people are great, and the state is very much what I call ‘accessible’….that is, it doesn’t take forever to get a decision or clearance here, and the government is definitely business-friendly. You definitely can’t say that about every state.”
To what does he attribute the company’s success?
“That’s an easy answer,” he said. “For us, it’s all about service, and being what I call a ‘personal company.’ When you call us, you won’t spend your time talking to machines….You’ll talk to real people who know and care about your needs.”
For David, this is the secret of success in just about any business endeavor, and he’s always amazed at the sheer number of companies and businesses that just “don’t seem to get it”.
“Is anything more frustrating than a long and impersonal phone tree?” he asked. “And when people need you, they don’t need to wait days or weeks for help, they need it right now. That’s what we deliver….the ‘right now’. And our clients know and appreciate that they can count on us.”
As proof of that statement, he said that LUBA’s retention rate is above 91 percent, obviously a great indicator that they live up to their promises.
I asked him what are some of the key challenges the company faces.
“Well, the soaring cost of meds can be a real factor for us,” he said. “Clearly, our health-care system can work wonders in healing people, but it all comes at great cost. We do all that we can to ensure people get the care then need when they’ve been injured, and I think we’re doing things more efficiently than ever before.”
He pointed to the fact that alone among health-care insurance categories, workers’ comp coverage premiums “are not increasing, and our clients really do appreciate that.”
“We also manage to do that even though, unlike other health insurers, we’re not allowed to make ‘deals’ with health-care providers to reduce costs,” he said. “We can’t choose where the worker goes, and we pay top dollar for the care folks get.”
With the kind of solid service and efficiency that LUBA delivers, it’s clear that the company is a major entrepreneurial success story with bright horizons.
A brief video featuring David Bondy can be seen on our website, MSBusiness.com, or on our YouTube channel, mbjournal.
» Contact Mississippi Business Journal publisher Alan Turner at email@example.com or (601) 364-1021.