Insurance Consultant Demands $200,000 – Threatens To Sue School District

tikia

Rina Tikia -Broker of the Year Finalist – http://www.benefitspro.com/2012/04/25/meet-the-broker-of-the-year-finalists-rina-tikia

“We don’t owe this lady any money………………………………….” – School Trustee

Lafayette board refuses to respond to demand letter  – Demand letter seeking $200,000 for work (http://esbstaff.lpssonline.com/attachments/2c084646-4810-4ce7-92f2-ce1cc213a949.pdf)

“We don’t owe this lady any money and I think in order for her to get anything from us, she would at least have to sue us, is that correct?” board member Shelton Cobb asked………The closed-door meeting at the Lafayette Parish School Board that ended in shouting and the police called tonight was over a health insurance consultant threatening a lawsuit………………Although Tikia  (http://tikiaconsultinggroup.com/)  has not received payment directly from LPSS the consulting group has received broker compensation, according to Mona Bernard, director of LPSS’ office of risk management……………The group received about $15,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield, LPSS’ health care administrator, and $22,000 from CVS Caremark, the prescription provider, Bernard said.

Tikia’s Demand Holds No Weight – http://www.theind.com/news/indreporter/16453-rina-tikia-s-demand-holds-no-weight

BY Marsha Sills

msills@theadvocate.com

LAFAYETTE — The Lafayette Parish School Board could be going to court over $200,000 an insurance consultant says the board owes for work associated with the selection of an administrator for the school system’s insurance plan.

In an 8-0 vote, board members decided not to respond to the demand letter from the attorney representing the Tikia Consulting Group until the matter goes to court.

Board member Tehmi Chassion was absent from the vote but showed up a few minutes after the short, 15-minute meeting ended.

“We don’t owe this lady any money and I think in order for her to get anything from us, she would at least have to sue us, is that correct?” board member Shelton Cobb asked.

Board attorney Roger Hamilton told Cobb he was correct.

Board member Greg Awbrey opposed responding to the demand for money.

“If we pay every demand that comes our way…we’d have a stack of letters,” Awbrey said.

The board hired Tikia Consulting in June for work associated with vetting proposals and recommending an administrator for the district’s  self-funded employee health insurance plan, but the board never approved a contract with the firm.

The selection process had been riddled with complaints by employees and some companies who submitted proposals for the job.

In flip-flop votes, the board initially rejected Tikia’s recommendation to hire a new administrator, Key Benefits Administrators, then voted to accept the recommendation only to later decide to restart the selection process.

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Consultant the topic of closed meeting that led to police at LPSB

The closed-door meeting at the Lafayette Parish School Board that ended in shouting and the police called tonight was over a health insurance consultant threatening a lawsuit.

Tikia Consulting issued a demand letter to the board on Monday, asking for a $200,000 payment within 15 days or face a lawsuit. A contract for Tikia was never finalized.

Board member Themi Chassion says he asked for an email from an employee during the meeting, which led to Superintendent Pat Cooper shouting, “That’s my employee,” grabbing his arm and spinning him around. Cooper says he just touched Chassion’s arm.

In the demand letter, Tikia claims the firm was hired in June and terminated effective Feb. 1. No decision was made during the meeting and an open meeting over the topic will be held next week at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13.

Former state Rep. Rickey Hardy and KATC objected to the closed meeting, citing state law. Board members Mark Babineaux and Greg Awbrey stayed out of the closed meeting, concerned that it was called illegally.

Under Louisiana law, an executive session, or closed meeting, can only be held on potential agenda if an agenda includes “a statement identifying the parties involved and reasonably identifying the subject matter.”

Such a statement was not included in the agenda.

The agenda, revised late this Tuesday, only stated that board would like to meet behind closed doors to discuss, “Tikia Consulting – Possible Litigation.”

Tikia Consulting was hired in June to help choose the board’s health care administrator. At the time she quoted a price of $100,000, but a contract was never signed, said Mona Bernard, director of LPSS’ office of risk management.

The firm later presented a proposed contract with a $200,000 fee, Bernard said.

Although Tikia has not received payment directly from LPSS the consulting group has received broker compensation, according to Mona Bernard, director of LPSS’ office of risk management.

The group received about $15,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield, LPSS’ health care administrator, and $22,000 from CVS Caremark, the prescription provider, Bernard said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield was awarded a 1-year extension of its existing contract, against Tikia’s recommendation, after questions about the selection process arose last year. In the past, the school system’s Insurance Committee worked with a consultant to find an insurance administrator. Instead, a school board committee selected the administrator.

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