After taking some time to think it over, Seymour Community School Corp. trustees have decided to stick with their current liability insurance provider.
That means Liberty Mutual will continue to serve the school district’s insurance needs into 2019 through local insurance broker Beatty Insurance.
The only other provider submitting a quote for the corporation’s business was EMC through Moore & Shepherd Insurance in Seymour.
On July 31, the board voted 5-2 to accept Beatty’s proposal, which was recommended by Superintendent Rob Hooker.
Trustees Jeff Joray and Stu Silver cast the dissenting votes. They also voted against the recommendation at a July 17 meeting to help defeat the proposal at that time with a vote of 4-2. One board member was absent.
Hooker said he recommended Liberty Mutual because of the company’s experience with the school corporation and educational law.
“We have an excellent service record established already with Liberty Mutual in worker’s comp,” Hooker said.
A major benefit of going with Liberty Mutual is it seeks the school board’s approval before settling a case, he said.
Hooker said the board wants to be able to stand on principle when dealing with someone who files a claim against the corporation. If the insurance company settles without the board’s approval, it makes a statement the district doesn’t want to make, he said.
Joray said picking an insurance carrier has been a learning experience for the board. He said he voted against Hooker’s recommendation because Moore & Shepherd’s quote came in cheaper.
“Stu and I brought this issue up over three years ago regarding putting services up for bid to ensure that the school corporation was receiving services at a most competitive cost,” Joray said. “This process is strictly based on negotiating the best cost of rate for the school corporation.”
Joray said the district’s insurance premiums have gone up 26 percent compared to two years ago and 17 percent compared to the most recent quotes.
Moore & Shepherd’s quote originally was 7 percent, or $16,000 cheaper than what the corporation currently is paying with Beatty, Joray said. After negotiating, that margin was decreased to 4 percent, or $6,000.
“To me, it’s obvious that the administration wants to continue to do business with our current carrier, and I can understand that,” Joray said. “But as an elected board member, part of our job is to spend the taxpayers’ dollars wisely, and there’s absolutely no evidence that the company that is still 4 percent cheaper will have any problem delivering on the services they have committed to.”
Joray said the money that could have been saved by going with Moore & Shepherd could have supported other expenses.
“These are dollars that could be used for school-related expenses such as staff raises, funding employee health savings accounts or helping with security issues in the schools,” he said.