BOLD class discusses risk management profiles, health insurance market transparency

The sixth and final session for the 2019 KASB BOLD class got underway Thursday, hosted by Derby USD 265.

BOLD, Business Operations Leadership Development, focuses on enhancing skills and knowledge around the following topics: building and facilities master planning; technology planning; finance strategies and planning; procurement processes; school security; risk management; and human resource management. The class includes administrators from KASB members across the state.

Thursday’s topic focused on managing the professional services that comprise a district’s risk management profile, such as insurances covering property casualty, worker’s compensation and employee health benefits.

Rob Spangler, director of Risk Management Group and KASB assistant executive director, led the afternoon’s first discussion and panel.

He acknowledged that talking insurance is often not high on any administrator’s list of favorite subjects, but taking time to learn more about how to navigate the insurance market space can equate to more funds available to support student success.

Spangler described the process of using a market check or market test to find out if there are savings available.

“A market check means you are just looking at the market to see if there is something out there that is different or better or if your plan is as good as it could be,” he said.

He suggests a rule of thumb is do this every three to five years, and also noted that an annual bid letter often discourages some carriers from responding because of the frequency and complexity of submitting it.

One big topic of discussion at Thursday’s session was the political and public relations implication of purchasing insurance from a local agency, even when a market check or RFP reveals a lower cost for similar coverage.

“I have seen the buy local decision be massively negative – to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. That is funding that could be used in the classroom,” Spangler said.

The discussion moved to employee benefits later in the afternoon. Jeremy Woydziak, KASB Risk Management Group sales manager, facilitated a panel that included Kati Wolfgang, Wamego USD 320 director of human resources, Russell Miller, Andover USD 385 assistant superintendent for
human resources, Matt Morford Newton USD 373 director of business services, and Larry Lyder, Lakin USD 215 superintendent of schools.

Because transparency is such a challenge in the world of health insurance, the group talked about the importance of developing a relationship with a broker or consultant based on mutual trust, and learning what questions to ask.

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