Waterloo changes insurance brokers

Sister Cities International and Illinois Sister Cities Association official Josephine Wittenauer of Columbia presents Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith certificates from both organizations Monday night that recognize the 35th anniversary of Waterloo’s partnership with Porta Westfalica, Germany. The city hosted its 35th annual Porta Westfalica Festival Tuesday night on the courthouse grounds. (Corey Saathoff photo)

For the Republic-Times

The city of Waterloo has changed brokerage service providers for its health insurance plans available to employees.

The Waterloo City Council’s insurance committee made that decision during its June 3 meeting and held discussions of this and the upcoming renewals of current insurance plans during a June 9 meeting.

In action taken during the regular council meeting Monday night, aldermen approved the low bidder on a road resurfacing contract for the downtown area and lowered the speed limit on a portion of Lakeview Drive.

The insurance decision was to change to a national consultancy, CBIZ, which has an office in St. Louis, replacing IPM, a local firm with offices in Waterloo, Mascoutah, O’Fallon and Okawville.

CBIZ is a large consulting firm that offers insurance, accounting, tax, payroll and human resources service from 100 offices nationwide. This agreement relates to managing insurance only and is being provided at the same yearly cost as previous services.

Last Tuesday’s committee meeting started with pointed questions from employee representatives as to why they were not part of the decision to change brokers. They said they had been excluded from the process.

Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith affirmed that the decision was properly the purview of the insurance committee and its decision was final.

“I have signed the letter,” Smith said, adding that “CBIZ is our broker.”

According to new committee president Clyde Heller, the change was not precipitated by any displeasure with IPM or its local associate, Bill Wirth, who has handled the city’s employee health insurance plans since 2006.

Rather, Heller cited the potential for greater assistance with the increasingly complex field of health insurance, especially provisions of the Affordable Care Act that are taking effect now and in the future.

Heller also noted that CBIZ is a large national firm with a large pool of resources, which offers a broad spectrum of services including recommendations of numerous ideas for consideration in the insurance arena.

“We simply think they will have a great deal to offer,” he said, “including asking us questions about issues we may not have even yet considered.”

CBIZ Senior Account Executive Eric File fielded questions from union employee representatives, noting there are a multitude of future options available. File recommended starting with a survey of all employees as soon as possible.

“We need to better understand employee priorities in their health insurance considerations,” he said. “We are eager to sit down with individuals or groups of employees to help them better understand their insurance and how to best use it.”

He also confirmed that plans are for the current providers, Coventry Medical and Delta Dental, to provide the same plans employees now have for the coming renewal period, which can be for 12 or 15 months.

At the meeting’s conclusion, the committee voted to recommend renewal of the plans with Coventry Medical and Delta Dental to the whole city council.

The insurance committee consists of aldermen Heller, Jim Hopkins, Steve Notheisen, Russ Thomas and Stan Darter.  Thomas has led the committee, but resigned that position, stating he and his wife are expecting a new child soon.

Monday meeting
The city council on Monday night approved the low bid amount of $244,823.36 from Missouri Petroleum Products for a downtown area micro-resurfacing project slated to begin toward the end of summer.

The areas to be resurfaced as part of the project, according to city officials, are West Mill Street from Market to Library streets, Main Street from just north of First Street to Fourth Street, Church Street from Magnolia to Fourth streets and West Third Street from Market to Church streets.

The council voted in favor of amending its motor vehicle code to lower the speed limit on Lakeview Drive between Hartman Lane and Library Street from 45 to 35 miles per hour. This is being done as part of the sidewalk project set to take place in that area.

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