Medical Mutual teams up with Raleigh brokerage firm

Medical Mutual Insurance Co. of North Carolina, the state’s largest medical malpractice insurer, is shifting its commercial insurance business to a fast-growing Raleigh insurance brokerage as part of a new strategic partnership.

Medical Mutual, which likewise is based in Raleigh and is owned by its 13,000 policyholders, also has acquired a minority stake in Sentinel Risk Advisors for an undisclosed sum.

Since the early 1980s Medical Mutual has operated a subsidiary, MMIC Agency, that acts as an insurance broker that sells property insurance, workers’ compensation, business-interruption and other lines of insurance to its members. But it has shifted that business, which generates about $5 million in annual premiums from physicians in 18 states, to Sentinel.

“That business has gotten to the point that we needed to take it to a new level,” said Medical Mutual CEO Dale Jenkins. “We believe we’ve got a great partner and we look forward to some good days ahead.”

Sentinel, which also offers risk management services, had a staff of 16 when it was formed two-and-a-half years ago and has nearly doubled to 31 today, said Jim Holmes, founder and managing partner.

“This allows us to scale a little more easily,” Holmes said of the partnership.

Sentinel sells to clients in 38 states and has offices in Raleigh and Greenville.

David Ranii: 919-829-4877, @dranii