Lamar County School Board stays with insurance plan

The Lamar County School Board chose loyalty over a price tag when board members voted to keep the same insurance carrier for the district's workers' compensation claims.

The Lamar County School Board chose loyalty over a price tag when board members voted to keep the same insurance carrier for the district's workers' compensation claims.

Meeting in the Lumberton High School's Dr. Linda L. Smith Auditorium, the School Board heard from insurance representative Ross Bell about the different insurance carriers.

Lamar County School Board stays with insurance plan

Insurance representative Ross Bell, standing, spells out the current workers’ compensation coverage to the Lamar County School Board. Listening to Bell are, from right, Terry Ingram, James Braswell and Superintendent Tess Smith.

Bell presented a spreadsheet with the three insurance carriers that offered workers' compensation coverage – Summit (the current carrier), Luba and Eastern Alliance. The coverage will begin Oct. 1, 2019.

"Our costs went up slightly, but we were able to initiate more scheduled credit to offset that," Bell said. "The base leads have also come down in Mississippi a little bit."

Tess Smith

Lamar County Schools Superintendent Tess Smith

"The cost for workers' compensation insurance has gone down the past three years," Superintendent Tess Smith said. "Someone came in cheaper, and we opted to stay with the company that we had built that relationship with. We decided that the long-range relationship was better for us."

Eastern Alliance had lower coverage charges than Summit for the school employees and drivers – $329,713 to $360,993 – but Summit made up the difference with its scheduled credit.

Summit's coverage cost totals have declined in the past three years, from $230,295 in 2017 to $217,599 in 2018, and $213,003, which was approved for 2019. Luba's costs were estimated at $257,637, while Eastern Alliance had $215,012.

Other insurance carriers that responded to the workers' compensation coverage were Steadpoint, which was not competitive; the Mississippi School Board Association, which had quotes about $100,000 more than the Lamar County School Board considered, and Church Mutual, which indicated coverage at $310,000.

Workers' compensation is defined as a form of insurance providing wage replacement and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of employment.

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