Morning Hardee County. After I posted this page yesterday and in light of new information I decided to rewrite and add this to my series, Meet The Cartel. I mean seriously, it was only fitting. So grab a bag of popcorn, sit back and enjoy the read 🙂 If you missed Part 1 and 2, links are below.
A few years ago the City of Wauchula, Hardee County and the Hardee County school Board all started using a local Insurance company, Albritton Insurance. All the employees that are affected depend on the people in charge to make sure they get the best coverage at a reasonable price.
I’m sure you all are aware of the LifeSync fiasco. I wrote about it Here. One interesting thing about this was the fact that Joe Albritton, Ben Albritton and Jim See were involved and profited from it. The Investigation below with Mike Deeson will help you understand a little more. It’s a little lengthy but well worth watching.
Using a local insurance agent for local government entities isn’t a bad thing if the system is being used properly. But recently there has been many questions raised. Some by employees and some by School Board members as seen in the story in the Herald Advocate below.
After speaking to numerous employees and board members that have had experience in this area, they all say the same thing “We know for a fact that we can get better insurance at a cheaper rate”. Employees are telling me the Insurance they currently have is terrible. So why aren’t the officials that control this doing something about it? Why stay with Albritton Insurance? Which brings up the question of Policy regarding choosing an Agent of Record. According to Hardee County Albritton Insurance was named Agent of Record on July 7th 2011. How often does that title have to be bid out? The answer is never. There is no policy that states how long any one agent can retain that title. So as I stated before policy needs to be set. Policy also needs to be set for negotiating commission/fees with said agent.
Then there’s the ethics question regarding Derren Bryan who is an officer of Albritton Insurance and is also on the Hardee County Education Foundation Board.
Now the question is how did Albritton Insurance get selected as Agent of Record? This is where it gets interesting.
On or about 2007 the Insurance Committee selected CIGNA as their provider. From what I’m told they were good to work with, the rates were good and they wanted to expand into this part of the state.
Later during a bid process Joe Albritton submitted a bid as a broker. He failed to read the specs and submitted a benefit rich plan that cost more than the board was already spending.
When he didn’t get the bid he contacted the Board members (in violation of the bid procedures) and lobbied them to give it to him the next year.
Several of the board members at the time tried to portray CIGNA as an awful plan. They shared emails from people (by coincidence friends of Albritton and a board memeber) stating that CIGNA would not respond to their concerns. Seems the District admin contacted CIGNA (they keep records of ALL communications regarding the plan). Not one of these people had actually contacted CIGNA.
It was all just a smoke screen to get the bid out again. Several of the Board members wanted Joe Albritton and tried to go out to bid again. At this point we aren’t sure what he promised them or if any of them benefited in any way. They wanted one change however, that ONLY the Board be the ones that review the bids and offers.
Not long after that the Board put out bids for an Insurance Broker. The broker had to have an office in the County and there were several other limiting conditions leaving only one person to bid. Albritton Insurance. Since then the employees and tax payers are at the mercy of ONE agent. Needless to say they have been paying the price.
It never amazes me as to what our Corrupt Local Officials will do. After reading this and watching the video above you can only ask yourself one question. When is enough, enough. As usual I’ll be sending this and more to a few folks up in State and Federal as I have this cool list of people that actually do read my emails and visit my site. One day, this town will get back on track. I’ll be here to make sure of it 🙂 In the meantime we can only hope the current Board members do the right thing. Go Out For Bids and not only save the taxpayers money, but help get a better Insurance policy for the employees.
Happy Sunday All !!