WEA Trust: Makes gains in competitive school insurance market
Contact: Steve Lyons, WEA Trust
Telephone: (608) 661-6729 (608) 220-7478—Cell
MADISON – The WEA Trust, the not-for-profit company created to provide quality health insurance at competitive prices to Wisconsin’s school districts, reported this week that its business is rebounding.
The Trust reported that in the last few weeks it has re-signed a number of school districts including —Whitefish Bay, West DePere, Mayville, and La Crosse, and Lakeshore Technical College. The Trust also won new school customers including the Mishicot, Horicon, Pittsville, and Minocqua School Districts.
“Districts are continuing to see the WEA Trust as an insurance company devoted to serving school districts by providing some of the nation’s highest rankings for quality service,” said WEA Trust Vice President Kathryne McGowan. “We’re a competitive company, and we work every day to be even more competitive.”
“The Trust returns 93 cents of districts’ premium dollars back in the form of health care, far exceeding the 85% mandated by federal law,” McGowan said. “As a result, more school districts are giving us the chance to make our case. It’s very encouraging.”
The WEA Trust, created by the state’s largest teachers’ union in 1970 as a private health insurance company, insured roughly two-thirds of Wisconsin’s school districts at its peak. But because its niche is in small to medium-size districts, more than half of the state’s school employees have always been insured by other companies.
“We’ve been very successful, but that sometimes masks the fact that school health insurance is a highly competitive business, especially the business for larger school districts,” McGowan said. “We have lost some customers through competition. But that’s also how we’ve gotten them back.”
“Many health insurance companies competing for school district business offer generous ‘first-year’ savings, but make up for their losses in future years. We often work with districts who received large increases from other carriers and come to the Trust,” McGowan said. She also said that many districts that left the Trust for another insurer are now seeing their health insurance premiums jump double digits.
“It’s a question of who can provide product variations and options to districts to help them lower their costs while providing the highest quality service—and the Trust is that company,” McGowan said.