Liability, medical insurance costs up at Olentangy

Despite concerns about several years of rising costs for the district’s property, fleet, and liability insurance, the Olentangy Local Schools Board of Education last week approved a contract with Liberty Mutual for coverage through 2018.

The agreement, which will cost the district $408,886 for the year, passed by a 3-1 vote (Vice President Kevin O’Brien voted no; board member Roger Bartz was absent).

Board member Julie Wagner Feasel said the yearly cost represents a 10 percent increase from 2017, and Treasurer Emily Hatfield added the increase is due to several factors: pending legal matters, the addition of a fourth high school (Berlin), and the addition of 24 new buses to the district’s fleet.

O’Brien, however, said there are additional areas of concern in which costs continue to swell.

“The general liability insurance went up 22 percent, and our umbrella policy went up 33 percent, which aren’t related to auto and aren’t related to property,” he said.

O’Brien added the 10 percent jump in the yearly cost to the district is starting to become a trend as over the past three years the OLSD has experienced “nearly double-digit increases,” and while it’s noted that the insurance policy was put out to bid without no other offers, he finds its highly unlikely there are no other providers willing to insure Olentangy Local Schools when $400,000-plus is at stake.

“In my opinion, I don’t think the broker did a good job of shopping the coverage,” said O’Brien, who said the district might want to consider changing to a broker able to lock down “more competitive rates.”

Superintendent Mark Raiff told the board that all recommendations will be taken into consideration as the district moves forward with future insurance agreements.

In a related matter, the board approved renewal of the district’s medical insurance with Medical Mutual of Ohio.

Under the new contract, monthly premiums under the PPO plan are $820 for single coverage and $2,210 for family coverage, while the premiums under the high deductible PPO are $660 for single coverage and $1,770 for family coverage.

Hatfield said the new premiums represent a 5 percent increase from 2017, but noted a larger increase was expected.

“Our forecast had an 8 percent increase anticipated and budgeted for,” she said. “The difference between the 5 percent and the 8 percent is about $490,000. We are happy that we were able to not hit that 8 percent that we had budgeted.”

By Joshua Keeran

[email protected]

Contact Joshua Keeran at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @KeeranGazette.