We are committed to transparency. When questions on our services arise, we do our best to address those in this FAQ section.
Below are some of our frequently asked questions. If you do not find your question(s) below, or would like more detail or clarification, don’t hesitate to reach out!
TOP FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Who is Valley Schools?
Valley Schools was created in 1987 by school districts pursuant to ARS 11-952 as an Arizona nonprofit corporation to allow public entities to jointly purchase insurance to lower both costs and risks. The Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) is an Arizona nonprofit corporation that provides professional management of insurance pools and services.
Valley Schools is comprised of several insurance service-related entities built including Valley Schools Worker’s Compensation Group (VSWCG), Valley Schools Insurance Group (VSIG) which handles liability insurance, and Valley Schools Employee Benefits Group (VSEBG) which provides health, dental, life, short term disability, vision, COBRA, and more. HPACT (“Health Programs for Arizona Cities, Counties, and Towns”) is Valley Schools-exclusive program crafted to meet the unique employee benefits needs of Arizona governmental agencies.
What do the various acronyms mean? (VSMG, VSEBG, VSIG, VSWCG, HPACT)
Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) administers the financial, accounting, audits, investments, employee benefits consulting, personnel, human resources, budgeting and other oversight of all the Valley Schools entities under its umbrella. Valley Schools Employee Benefits Group (VSEBG) provides health plan administration for health, dental, life insurance and other benefits. Valley Schools Workers’ Compensation Group (VSWCG) provides workers’ compensation insurance. Valley Schools Insurance Group (VSIG) provides liability insurance. Health Programs for Arizona Cities, Counties and Towns (HPACT) provides employee benefits to Arizona cities, towns and municipalities.
How does Valley Schools save its members money?
As an Arizona non-profit corporation, Valley Schools is able to offer our services at a competitive, low rate as compared to for-profit service providers. We also have the benefit of “buying power” due to the many lives of our covered insureds and their dependents, which currently total over 35,000.
How easy is it to utilize Valley Schools services?
Any Arizona public entity can utilize our services by signing a simple membership agreement, or a direct contract for services. Under state statute A.R.S. 11-952.01, public entities can join or contract with Valley Schools without a formal Request for Proposal. There is no cost for membership.
Do I have to change my insurance carriers when I become a Valley Schools member?
No. You can choose to use Valley Schools contracted providers, keep your current carriers, or, if utilizing our Employee Benefits Consulting, have us request proposals from any service provider or carrier on your behalf – at no additional cost. This provides you the benefit of flexibility and negotiation power, which results in better insurance programs and rates for your organization and employees.
Do I still need an employee benefits broker or consultant?
No, Valley Schools provides full employee benefit consulting services. We are one of the top 2 largest employee benefits consulting groups in the state for Arizona public schools-and the only non-profit. If you currently have a benefits consultant you are happy with, we will coordinate with your current consultant so you can take advantage of our competitive insurance contracts, yet maintain your current broker relationship.
How do I know Valley Schools is financially sound?
Valley Schools is independently audited each year by a CPA firm and is overseen by the Arizona Department of Insurance. All Valley Schools meetings are open to the public. Audited financial reports are available to all members. Each year independent consulting firms also check on reserves and liabilities to ensure they are above standards in the industry and claims audits are done independently to ensure that claims are properly processed. The Arizona Department of Administration conducts regular examinations of Valley Schools.
Does Valley Schools respond to formal Request for Proposals (RFP’s)
Valley Schools selectively responds to formal RFPs for employee benefits consulting services. Valley Schools has been awarded cooperative contracts for Employee Benefits Consulting through 1GPA [link] and S.A.V.E. Should you be interested in utilizing one of these two formal cooperative purchasing contracts, you may do so through those cooperatives, or you can contract with us directly.
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How can we help?
Are you ready to better support your organization and your employees with expert benefits consulting and competitive benefit programs?
Contact Valley Schools today to learn more!