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Insurance Committee Minutes – September 16, 2021 (unapproved)

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ATTENDEES:  Committee – David Wamble, Chairman, Duane Jones, Joyce Woodard, Joseph Sutton, Harold Brooks, Gayle Jones, David Adams  Other – County Executive Melissa Greene Other Commissioners – Rose Brown, Mike Cesarini, Terry Harwell, Tommy Pollard, Judy Pruett, Roger Reedy, and Larry Worsham Other County – Barry Hyatt and Steve Kelley, Highway Department;  Roy Griggs, Ambulance Department; Beth Moore-Sumners and Nancy Griffin, Financial Management Office; Chad and Jimmy Alsup, Alsup and Associates Insurance, Inc.; Pulaski Citizen – Barbara Harmon

Chairman David Wamble opened the meeting with Tommy Pollard offering the prayer and leading the pledge.  Minutes of 14 September 2020 had been forwarded previously and a motion by Joyce Woodard and seconded by Harold Brooks to approve those minutes was made and was approved.

Chairman provided a handout showing FY 2022 (Jan – Dec) state plan for in-network costs reflecting an increase over FY2021 of 4.3%.  Previous year increase was 5.4%. These increases are an overall average and may change some across the board.  For Giles County, per Nancy Griffin, the county is in a Level 2 tier, with the majority of covered individuals being in the Premium PPO offering.  The 4.3% increase would cost an employee approximately $16 per pay period.  Beth Sumners-Moore said this increase for the rest of the year would amount to approximately $45K for county and highway (excludes school since they are on a different insurance plan).  She suggested this committee consider funding this increase ($45K) rather than passing on to employees, with that amount probably coming from the county’s fund balance.  She further stated that the county only has about 20 people who take the family coverage due to the affordability of that premium.  Beth and her office have been working on developing an RFQ with the assistance of a broker (garnering specific expertise) for other quotes outside of the state plan.  The County Executive Melissa Greene mentioned her discussions with individual ambulance department employees and one of their bigger if not biggest concern is health insurance coverage.  Further this has been a 10 year plus problem within the county, resulting in losing employees at times.  If this increase was totally covered for the upcoming FY2022, the cost would be approximately $70K – $80K.  Per Beth the county currently pays $665 a month for partial payment of employee health insurance. Mike Cesarini asked, if other counties are on the state plan, why would we lose personnel to them for that reason.  Per Beth, Marshall county is in a different tier than Giles and they have a lower cost, and they pay more as a partial.  Per Nancy, the tiers are based not on number of people covered but on their age.  That number is not refigured unless you were to opt out for a couple of years and then come back to the state plan.  Additionally, you must wait at least two years to re-enter the state plan if you have opted out.  Marshall County has opted out and has locked in a two-year cost with another insurance provider.

Motion by Duane Jones and seconded by Joyce Woodard to send the $45K increase to the budget committee for the seven-month period.  Motion approved 6 – 1 with Gayle Jones voting no.

Roger Reedy asked what the school is doing and was told they are negotiating on their own (have a 2% increase) and are looking at ways to absorb.  The Chairman asked Beth Moore-Sumners if she would bring back to this committee what was presented in the previous year and which did not receive support at that time but could start a positive approach to helping with employee insurance at this time.  Perhaps bringing back within 2 – months.  Terry Harwell mentioned that outside insurers often bid low first year and raise price considerably in second year.  Where Marshall County has a two-year lock on cost through a non-state insurer was mentioned at this time, and at the end of that time could then opt back into the state policy.  Beth made one other suggestion, that being the school has a policy to pay part of a retired employee’s health insurance until age 65 with 10-year service.  She had not done the numbers but saw this as another approach for the county to consider in assisting in the retention of employees.

Next Agenda Item – To review other insurance policies First type Liability.  Given some lawsuits against Giles county, a question to consider was does the county have enough coverage.  And there is always a need for balance between having enough and putting a target out there for someone to use in a lawsuit.  Chad Alsup mentioned the liability policy has been separated into two policies, one for county and one for school.  He further stated that they could provide a variety of options in coverage and cost.  That could be available in as little as 2 weeks.  In other policies there were two new ones already in place mentioned.  Those being, a sexual abuse policy for the school system and a cyber liability policy for the county.  And there is a flood plain policy for the Richland school. Chairman asked if there are any places where the county is underinsured.  Melissa said she receives a list which is then provided to all department heads on property coverage.  That is then discussed with each.  She feels that insurance is in good shape.  She also mentioned the email domain name as changed to “.gov” which is much harder to hack, giving earlier examples before the change of some of the employees being scammed or subject to phishing.  Gayle Jones asked about coverage on the courthouse and was told that was scheduled to be relooked; and she asked if sprinklers reduced cost (yes).  Melissa said the survey was starting today in courthouse.  For coverage, $16M for the courthouse and $3M on the annex.  Barry Hyatt, as well as Beth Moore-Sumners, were both highly complimentary of the Alsup firm noting both quick response and a high degree of trust worthiness.

With no old or new business being discussed, Duane Jones moved for adjournment.  Joyce Woodard seconded, and motion was approved.