Warren Wilson College News

Report on the Insurance Consortium with the North Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities

NCICU Employee Benefits Consortium

The possibility of the NCICU Employee Benefits Consortium was created due to the desire to stabilize the rising cost of medical insurance. One outcome would be to have a more flexible benefit plan to meet the needs of academia.  Initially there were meetings in the different areas of the state to determine the interest in creating an Employee Benefits Consortium.  Prior to June 2004 interested Chief Financial Officers meet in Greensboro to select a consulting group.  Marsh was selected as the consulting firm for the Consortium. 

In June 2004, a steering committee was formed that consisted of representatives from Colleges and Universities that continued to be interested in forming a Consortium.  Representatives were Chief Financial Officers and Human Resources Directors, consultants from Marsh, the President and her assistant from NCICU and an attorney experienced with forming a Benefits Consortium.  This steering committee met on a regular basis.

After over two years of work with a core group of eleven colleges and universities writing a Plan Document for a Self-Insurance Plan allowing each college or university to choose one or two plans from a selection of four, only three colleges were interested in remaining.  There was not enough "insurable lives" to spread the risk.  The Colleges that were interested in remaining in the Consortium were Warren Wilson College, Meredith College and Mars Hill College. 

Numerous reasons were given for not remaining in the Consortium.  According to Hope Williams, NCICU President, most of the negative responses came after discussions with benefits committees of various colleges.  The comments included:  that cost savings were not enough to justify a change; that there would not have been a savings; that the savings were great but the committee was not happy with the network; that there was concern with the network; and that there was concern about the coverage.  At least one college had a decrease in its insurance premium.  Most of the colleges and universities that declined wanted to consider joining in a year or so, which may indicate there were those who wanted to see how it worked before saying yes.  Unfortunately with some colleges’ decision not to participate, the Consortium was not able to continue.

As you are aware, Warren Wilson College renewed its contract with Federated Insurance.  A memorandum with the particulars of the renewal Plan was distributed in June, with the hope that an alternative might be available as early as January 2006.  The contract with Federated extends through June 30, 2006.

Bill Collins, consultant and WWC alumnus, is currently researching alternatives for insurance for the College.  However, insurance providers for the western North Carolina area are limited.  We will keep you updated, as new information is available.

Personnel Advisory Committee

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