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After being in business for more than 40 years, a Salt Lake City-based company with nationwide reach is returning to its roots to offer Utah physicians a uniquely designed service.
The company, MGIS, has been headquartered in Salt Lake City since 1997 and has provided medical malpractice insurance to physicians across the country—but never in Utah. Another company, Utah Medical Insurance Association, had always served the Utah market, but a recent acquisition and subsequent move of that company by MMIC Insurance, Inc. of Minnesota opened up the door to MGIS to serve the state it’s headquartered in.
“We’ve never focused on Utah because of its smaller market,” said Jeff Brunken, president of MGIS. “When we learned the local company had been purchased, we saw a real need coming to the surface. Unless we brought our product to the state, Utah physicians wouldn’t have a local advocate.”
Although the insurance product is nothing new for MGIS, it is the first time it’ll be offered in Utah, Brunken said. Since its inception, MGIS has provided insurance to 300,000 physicians in more than 10,000 medical practices across the nation.
“This is an opportunity for us to get involved in the Utah insurance and healthcare communities,” he said.
As healthcare changes and trends change—like doctors moving from individual practices to group practices—insurance coverage also has to evolve, as well as the company’s service model, approach to settling claims and approach to risk management. Brunken said MGIS has done well at keeping up with changing trends, and one of its most unique offerings is in the form of its risk management.
“We really focus on soft skills, like how to deal with difficult people and different personality types,” he said. “Physicians are oftentimes the last to pick up on a difficult personality issue, because of their very clinical, straightforward personality make ups. Soft skills are what we focus on because physicians have several other options when it comes to best practices and knowing which pill is best to give to which patient. There is a much bigger focus on soft skills because the truth is people don’t sue people they like.”
In fact, Mark Dayton, vice president of marketing at MGIS, said doctors are 40 percent more likely to be sued if a patient doesn’t feel like the office staff has been kind and helpful.
Brunken said doctors in Utah will appreciate MGIS’s insurance program because of it’s location within the community.
“Physicians want to know that if they have a question or if they are sued, that they are dealing with an organization where decisions are made locally,” he said. “If we need to be here and meet with them, we’re there that day. The team backing their coverage is all here locally and that means a better response and knowing the people you’re doing business with.”
Overall, Brunken said MGIS has a vested interest in making sure Utah has a stable, long-term insurance offering for the state’s doctors.
“This is not just another state for us,” he said. “This is an opportunity to put a stake in the ground in our backyard and make it work by doing a good job for our clients.”