By Laura Lyles Reagan
Special to the PRESS
The Point Isabel ISD School Board interviewed and discuss insurance consultant presentations and bids, then held a vote on which firm to hire. There were no public comments or persons in attendance other than board members and staff.
Last month, PI-ISD Superintendent Theresa Alarcon gave 30-day notice to terminate services on the current insurance consultant’s contract, belonging to Alamo Insurance out of San Antonio, Texas.
Alamo Insurance have been the district’s insurance consultant for the last 14 years. A request for qualifications was posted for medical insurance consultants.
Five firms responded, including Alamo Insurance. Only four firms chose to present to the board, including Alamo Insurance,, Carlisle Insurance of Corpus Christi, First Finance of Austin and Valley Risk Consulting of McAllen.
Insurance consultants do not provide insurance, rather, they advise the board on insurance provider bids and help the board mitigate the rise of medical insurance costs on the district’s self-funded insurance account. Port Isabel ISD is self-insured and has 364 employees. The purpose of an insurance consultant is to act as a knowledgeable, objective voice in assisting the district to plan, organize, prepare and research insurance policies and sometimes negotiate rates with medical service providers such as hospital emergency rooms. School districts with self-funded insurance hire insurance consultants regularly.
Each firm had 10 minutes to present, with 5 minutes for the board to ask questions. Questions to prospective firms were: how long have they been in business; what their experience was with self-funded insurance; would a cooperative agreement with one or more like districts benefit our school district; how will the firm inform employees of their voluntary insurance options such as cancer policies; and asked why the district should hire them, using only one word.
Discussion after the presentations quickly eliminated Carlisle Insurance and First Financial, due to cost per employee quoted, or inexperience with self-funded insurance. After eliminating two firms, the remaining firms, Alamo Insurance and Valley Risk Consulting, were discussed. Board members reviewed the costs and experience of both. Particular attention was given to the other Valley school districts who have hired the firms.
Valley Risk Consulting provided the lowest quote of $4.25 per employee each month, and services Brownsville CISD, McAllen ISD, Sharyland ISD and La Joya ISD. Board member Bertha Zamora made a motion to extend a contract to Valley Risk Consulting. Board member Cecilia Castillo seconded the motion. President Pinkerton called for the vote. The vote passed unanimously. The board adjourned at approximately 6:50pm, for so they could commence the board workshop on board operating procedures.