Firm hired to select insurance manager
LAFAYETTE — Superintendent Pat Cooper said he will approach the Lafayette Parish School Board next week about a consultant who has been working for the school system without a contract.
The School Board agreed in June to hire Tikia Consulting Group Inc. to help in the selection of a private company to administer the school system’s self-funded employee health insurance.
At one point, Cooper said, consultant Rina Tikia requested an annual fee of $200,000, but that figure remains under negotiation.
“There is no written contract and there has been no verbal contract, as far as I know,” Cooper said Tuesday of the Metairie company. “We have to have some decisions from the board. We need to know how do they want to handle it because the lady needs to get paid for the work that she’s done.”
The group’s price proposal offered several options, including either a flat annual fee of $100,000 or commissions built into the administrator’s proposal.
“We’ll try to work out a prorated amount for the work that she’s done and bring that to the board,” Cooper said.
Consulting fees last year to choose the health insurance administrator cost the school system $76,000, the superintendent said.
Tikia declined to comment about her consulting costs or her work on behalf of the board.
Last week, the board voted to redo its selection process for the third-party administrator after questions were raised by applicants, as well as employees, about the fairness of the selection process and even the accuracy of the proposals.
Typically, district staff manages and reviews requests for proposals for third-party administrators with the help of consultants who also work with the district’s insurance advisory group, said Mona Bernard, the district’s insurance and risk management director.
The advisory group includes current and retired employees.
Last year, the board itself voted to hire the consultants — rather than letting the staff make the hire — to review administrator proposals.
After some roller-coaster voting that saw the board reject Tikia’s recommendation to select Key Benefits Administrators as its new administrator at one meeting and then, a month later, approving Key Benefits, the board on Oct. 22 voted to scrap its prior votes and restart the process.
The board at that meeting also directed staff to work on a one-year contract extension with Blue Cross Blue Shield, the administrator for the school system’s employee health insurance.
Bernard said Tuesday that work to reissue the request for proposals likely won’t get underway until the beginning of next year.