Starting an insurance company is a complex undertaking, especially one in the medical malpractice field. However, that did not stop PracticeProtection co-founders Mike Wallace and Eric Stetzel, who saw an opening in the market for dental malpractice insurance coverage. “There are many barriers to entry,” says Wallace, “and many capital requirements. It has definitely been a complicated process.”
Wallace, president and CEO of PracticeProtection, works from its Jacksonville, Florida, office. As a co-founder of two prior physician malpractice insurance companies, including MedMal Direct, he brings insurance expertise to the business. It was through MedMal that he met Fort Wayne’s Stetzel four years ago. Fort Wayne seemed a natural place for this start-up, the city being a hub for both insurance and dental/medical manufacturing companies. Stetzel made his mark on the dental scene when he founded Panoramic Corporation, now the world’s leading manufacturer of dental X-ray equipment. He later started the largest dental equipment dealer in the Midwest. Stetzel serves as chief strategic officer for PracticeProtection.
Wallace and Stetzel explain that there are quite a few medical malpractice insurance companies in the U.S. but most companies focus on physicians and don’t give dentists the attention they deserve. Dentist-owned and directed, the business adopted a direct-to-consumer model. The primary goal is to improve insurance coverage for dentists while creating strong long-term relationships between dental practices and their patients. The company’s belief is that with disciplined underwriting, there will be less risk and fewer claims, creating better financial results and allowing for lower rates and consistent pricing.
Protection via risk management is key, and the philosophy is that this should be practiced as an integral part of each work day. Continuing education, compliance training and risk assessments are just a few ways that PracticeProtection aims to help its members. In the rare case of a legal issue, PracticeProtection pledges to “aggressively defend” its members with a team-based approach to claims. Says Wallace, “We are committed to fighting any unjust law suits.”
PracticeProtection has been set up as a Risk Retention Group (RRG). “Being an RRG means we exist for the benefit of our members and provide the opportunity for them to share in company profits,” says Wallace. He explains that an RRG structure allows a business to act differently than most publicly traded companies which typically split their focus between customers and shareholders. RRG benefits, according to PracticeProtection, include self-governance and long-term member considerations, control over how premiums are set, efficiency of overhead costs and the ability to be authorized in all 50 states.
PracticeProtection officially launched in 2017 and is currently in six states: Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio, with plans to soon be nationwide.
Address: 1021 S. Calhoun St. Fort Wayne, Indiana 46802
Phone: (888) 217-2779
Products & Services: Dental malpractice insurance coverage