MSGIA - Insuring a Bright Future for Montana's Public Schools for over 30 Years!


Shawn Bubb, MTSBA Director of Insurance Services



MSGIA quickly gained traction with MTSBA members through its highly successful Workers Compensation Risk Retention Program (WCRRP). The Workers’ Compensation program has saved MTSBA members millions of dollars in premium and dividends paid over the years by consistently remaining below competitors' price while offering expanded value-added risk management services (such as asbestos inspections) for free that cost thousands anywhere else.  

Starting in 2002, MTSBA took over the operation of MSGIA from the Montana School Services Foundation and that partnership has been key to the continued expansion in new lines of business and enhanced services ever since.  In 2008, MSGIA launched the School Leaders Self Insurance Pool, which resulted in a substantial reduction in rates compared to those then in place among profit-based competitors.  The same ingredients that drove the success of the workers’ compensation program have continued to drive the success and expansion of the property and liability program. Self-funded, member-governed and owned and accountable to the members of MTSBA for over 30 years, MSGIA provides some of the most valuable programs to MTSBA members and we greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve MTSBA members with the best insurance programs available for public schools in Montana.




MSGIA Crisis Management and Social Media Monitoring Services
The MSGIA continues to provide all WC pool members with crisis management and social media monitoring services for all its WC pool members.  Since January 1, 2019, all MSGIA WC Pool members have enjoyed access to these great new member resources to help prevent violent events from occurring at your school district through an open-source social media monitoring service.  MSGIA  members also have access to one hour of Professional Crisis Risk Management services from trained crisis management responders contract through the MSGIA.   In combination with the utilization of professional crisis management services, districts need to be mindful of the importance of consultation with their legal counsel to ensure the significant legal issues that arise in the crisis situations related to students and staff of the district are handled appropriately.  The MTSBA attorneys are well-versed in assisting districts with crisis management and the legal issues that come into play.   Please contact the MSGIA with questions or further interest in these great new school safety risk management programs only available through your MSGIA WC Pool membership.

About MSGIA's Workers' Compensation Resources 
The Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority has provided a Self-Insured Workers Compensation Pool for Montana K-12 School Districts since 1989. Over the years we have developed many programs and resources for our members. 

About MSGIA's Property and Liability Resources 
The Montana Schools Group Insurance Authority has provided a Self-Insured Property and Liability Pool for Montana K-12 School Districts since 2008. We have developed many programs and resources for our members. 

Check Out Safety Resources!
In this section, you will find safety and risk management articles, links, and training programs available for the members of our programs. This is a new resource area for our members, so be sure to come back and visit often as we add content.



Congratulations to Gardiner Public Schools for receiving the MSGIA FY21-Gary Griffith Excellence in Workplace Safety Award

Many dream of moving to this area and others plan a lifetime to visit. What is viewed as a wonderful fantasy this community deals with daily. It is a snowmobile capital, a wildlife mecca, a tourist destination, and the original entrance to the first national park.

When speaking with Mike Baer, Superintendent of Gardiner Public Schools, he will tell you that “we don’t do anything special” when it comes to safety. However, once he elaborates a bit further, there are many key points that add up to their success.

The first is that he is quick to say that “he has the right people in the right place.” Most of the staff at Gardiner has been with the district for upwards of eight years. Mr. Baer is happy to state, “we have a lot of great people just doing their job.” The staff knows their job, what is expected of them and how to do it safely. The district conducts safety training and often discusses safety as an everyday item. There is a work order system in place for items to be conducted. Certain employees use ladders. If someone needs to climb, they are to put in a request to the employees that have been trained in proper ladder use. This also applies to other safety equipment and items. The staff follows a chain of command regarding safety.

The district is very good at winter preparation. They have staff that moves the snow to allow safer access into and out of the building. They also plan where that snow will be put. They not only need to look at where the water will go when the snow melts but not hinder travel into and out of the national park. Keeping in mind the district complex is a half block from the north entrance to Yellowstone.

The district is willing to purchase the equipment needed to help staff. The office staff has had ergonomic assessments conducted and the district purchased the necessary equipment to keep them safe and comfortable throughout the day. The kitchen staff has and uses carts for moving heavy items. Also, snow removal equipment is in place and used. These are just a few examples.

The staff and students at Gardiner are more aware of their surroundings than many others. They have to be. Not only does the population in the town double, triple, or more during tourist seasons this affects the traffic around the school, watching for those who are preoccupied while on vacation, and being aware of strangers. The elk stay free at every motel in town, and they have made the lawns and football field at the school their own. Bison snuggle up to the school windows and next to warm vehicles in the parking lot. These animals while beautiful are still wild and therefore unpredictable. This means that the staff and students think on their feet. The district has multiple evacuation routes from the building in case wildlife may be in their path. They also have good plans to get back into the building quickly if unexpected four-legged visitors should decide they wish to visit. It has been said that common sense is no longer common. In Gardiner, it is alive and well and being used daily.

Mr. Baer also states that the district is small, and this can be a benefit for communication but that they have a “big city” attitude when it comes to getting matters completed. Most importantly everyone looks out for one another.