Mt. Vernon Register-News

January 24, 2014

MVTHS returns to insurance provider

By TRAVIS MORSE travis.morse@register-news.com
The Register-News

---- — MT. VERNON — Mt. Vernon Township High School will remain with its current risk management insurance provider for at least another year.

District officials had been exploring the possibility of switching providers, but Superintendent Michael Smith said it would be too risky to take such an action at this time.

The MVTHS Board of Education voted to renew its contract with the current provider, Prairie State Insurance Cooperative, at a board meeting Tuesday night. PSIC provides property/casualty and workmen’s compensation insurance for the district.

“At this point in time, given our claim record, it could present a risk of paying a whole lot higher premiums or even (not)

receiving comparable coverage,” Smith said of leaving PSIC.

In December, the MVTHS Board approved withdrawing from PSIC so bids could be sought from other insurance brokers.

The district was then given a six-week grace period during which it could return to PSIC without having to reapply.

Once the grace period ends, the district would have to go through the entire application process again to return to PSIC, Smith said. By renewing the contract now, MVTHS does not have to reapply.

“We didn’t want to take the chance of not getting back in,” Smith said.

Smith said district officials are generally satisfied with PSIC’s workmen’s compensation rates, but were hoping to find more competitive prices for property/casualty coverage.

Upon researching the current marketplace, Smith said it looks like MVTHS could get competitive quotes for property/casualty, but not for workmen’s compensation.

This presents a problem, because MVTHS can’t stay with PSIC just for workmen’s compensation. The firm requires the district to purchase coverage for both risk management categories, Smith said.

The district’s recent claim history has made it difficult for MVTHS to receive competitive bids for workmen’s compensation.

During the 2010-2011 year, the district had a high number of claims in that category, but the situation has improved since then, Smith said.

In another year, MVTHS may be in a better position to get workmen’s compensation bids.

This is because providers typically look at a potential client’s three-year claim history and by next year the 2010-2011 time period will have “dropped off,” Smith said.

“We’ll see how our claims trend over the next year,” Smith said. “Hopefully, we’ll have a good year.”

MVTHS may try to solicit bids again at the end of 2014. District officials hope some of the brokers that expressed interest this time around will do so again when the issue is revisited.

“We’ll explore possibilities, but right now we need to stay with Prairie State,” said MVTHS Board President Carl Miller.

Other MVTHS Board actions Tuesday included:

n Approval of the district’s graduation date for the current school year, which will be May 24, 2014.

n Approval of filing an objection to an appeal by Truck Centers, Inc., to lower the truck dealer’s market value and Equalized Assessed Valuation.

n Approval of the employment of Patty Flick as a volunteer chess team coach for the remainder of the school year.

n Approval of a Special Education Project UNIFY trip and a Varsity Scholar Bowl Team trip.