Succeeding Beyond Expectations
By Scott Culver
More than 30 years ago, WEAC formed an independent welfare benefit trust
to provide a better benefit deal for its members than was available from
conventional insurers. In the ensuing three decades, the WEA Trust has
succeeded beyond the expectations of its founders, and has set the standard
by which public school employee benefits are measured today.
While both WEAC and its Trust take pride in this accomplishment and look
forward to continuing in this role, not everyone has embraced our achievement.
In the past year, the voices of our detractors have grown louder. Some
of you may have heard or read comments in various media reports challenging
our way of doing business.
The Trusts critics see its success as a byproduct of stifling competition,
not as a result of the value it provides to school districts. They see
the Trusts success as an example of WEAC imposing its will on the
We disagree with their assessment and believe the reasons for our success
are more elementary.
The Trust thrives in the marketplace because it represents the best deal
available. School employers and employees share a common trait
they want value for the dollars they spend on benefits. Our programs are
designed by members, for members, and with members best interests
Our not-for-profit structure requires that we use all the dollars we
receive exclusively for benefit payments and necessary administrative
costs. None of the money the Trust collects is spent on ad campaigns,
sales commissions, or stockholder dividends. As a result, public school
districts get better benefits at a lower cost.
The Trusts cost of doing business (expense ratio) is one of the
lowest in the insurance industry, and it returns a higher percent of every
premium dollar in payments on behalf of members.
We also believe all our members should be treated fairly and should receive
the benefits to which they are entitled. But we dont just talk the
talk we back it up. Consider, for example, complaints filed with
the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI). Far fewer complaints
are filed against the Trust than against its two main competitors, and
even well below the state average.
Financially, the Trust operates independently of WEAC. While the WEAC
Board elects the trustees who serve on the various Trust boards, the Trust
returns no money to WEAC. All the trustees are active or retired public
school employees who serve without compensation. As educators, they understand
the needs of public school employees and direct Trust programs to provide
quality, comprehensive products and services to members.
Our programs are designed to protect and enhance the economic well-being
of the states public school employees. While we acknowledge that
criticism of our mission comes with the territory, we remain steadfast
in our methods and look forward to continued service to our members.
Posted September 14, 2001