SBR: Employee Benefit Solutions earning high marks for efficiency, convenience, service

By Scott Rothschild, srothschild@kasb.org

KASB’s newest service to help school districts has been up and running for nearly a year, and the reviews have been outstanding — earning high marks for efficiency, convenience and service.

“I am very happy with the way that KASB Employee Benefit Solutions is working for our district,” said Debbie Walburn, treasurer for Silver Lake USD 372.

Employee Benefit Solutions, which is offered by KASB Risk Management, is a technology-based service that improves management of both employer-sponsored benefits and voluntary benefits. EBS streamlines the annual job of selecting benefits.

We spent the better part of 2017 researching, conducting user group meetings, selecting carrier partners and designing Kansas Educators specific benefits,” said KASB Director of Risk Management Rod Spangler. “We launched this service in early 2018 with the hopes of getting a good strong early adopter group of users. I am thrilled that our team has done that. We are moving into phase 2 into a full launch for 2019 taking on many more users into this great tool,” Spangler said.

Silver Lake’s Walburn said she knew EBS would be successful based on having worked with Spangler and his team in the past and that the service would lead to savings and help employees.

“He has hired excellent staff to assist the needs of the participating districts. One of the biggest factors in our deciding to use KASB was that the monies spent would benefit education – not go to a big corporation. The prices and the policies available is affordable for our employees and meets their needs. Having the ability for our staff to do their yearly enrollment at a time that is convenient to them, not having to schedule it during the work day, is a huge benefit,” she said.

Matt Hirsch, human resources director for Shawnee Heights USD 450, agreed that EBS has been effective, as has KASB’s service, support and responsiveness.

“Our employees seemed to really appreciate the KASB Risk Management benefits enrollment site. We were impressed with all the benefit information that was available on the enrollment screens,” Hirsch said.

Each benefit page had summaries, videos and the ability to compare different plans. If the employee had more questions, they could use links to talk with someone at KASB Risk Management or send them an email after hours. KASB and EBS staff also attended sessions to help employees, Hirsch said.

Silver Lake USD 372 Superintendent Tim Hallacy said the district’s use of EBS was a natural extension of its partnership with KASB.

“We knew with their services, products and counsel they would provide would be superb,” Hallacy said.

Hallacy said KASB continues to be a help in many ways. “We have been pleased with the transition to KASB services and the products and services we have access to. We are looking forward to what we can accomplish for employees in the coming years working together,” he said.

Kati Wolfgang, director of human resources for Wamego USD 320, said the product and customer service has been wonderful.

“Because of the partnership we created with KASB EBS, our employees were able to be educated on all benefits with a face-to-face interaction on more than one occasion.

“They were able to enroll online in their benefits at their convenience, from the comfort of their own home with the support and input of their family or significant other, and could elect the benefits that they felt were best for them,” she said.

Wolfgang added that the KASB Risk Management customer service was “remarkable.”

“Their staff truly care about the relationships they build with districts.We are proud to add KASB Risk Management to our benefits team, and look forward to watching them grow and improve benefits in districts across Kansas,” she said.

Seaman USD 345 Superintendent Steve Noble said he appreciated the convenience of the online registration process, adding that it was straightforward and easy to use.

“For added support for those who wanted it, we set up a computer sign up room at our district office and had staff there to help,” Noble said. “Rod has always put customer service as his No. 1 priority and that is why we decided to jump right in as a first-year school district in this program. He has not disappointed. Rod and the folks at KASB are always super helpful to anyone who reaches out with questions,” he added.

Emily Evans, board clerk for Bucklin USD 459, said the accessibility of the EBS program and KASB’s staff were the major selling points.

“As one of the smaller districts that joined KASB’s Employee Benefits Solution program this first year, we did so because of the accessibility of an online portal for employees, the more affordable premiums, but most importantly because of their customer service,” Evans said.

Evans added, “The online portal that streamlines all the employee/benefit information made my job so much easier when it came to setting up payroll deductions this year. It was a breeze!

“From the beginning stages of prep, throughout implementation, and now as we are live and into our new year, Rod and his staff have never been further than a phone call or email away, and are willing to help out with any circumstance. That’s something you don’t always find when it comes to benefits when you’re a small employer like us.”

Spangler said EBS represents another step in KASB’s desire to help districts so that teachers and support staff can remain focused on the success of their students.

“Our members should expect better, and we have delivered that,” he said. “Our vision is simple – focus this process on ONE system for enrollment, one system for year-round changes, and using the system as the source of record for the employer and the employee. Letting technology work for the employer, let them finally take control of the process.”

Interested in learning more? Email or call Rod Spangler, assistant executive director of Risk Management, for a no obligation review of the concepts and ideas around our new holistic Employee Benefit Solutions. Rod can be reached at rspangler@ kasb.org or 785-271-4599.

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