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LJISD to potentially save $530,457 annually with new health insurance agent

La Joya ISD has approved a contract with Bob Treviño Insurance to cover the district health insurance.

The La Joya Independent Board of Trustees held a regular board meeting via Zoom this Wednesday Jan. 13, 2021 to discuss several items. Among those was the consideration of a contract presented by the highest-ranked agent of record (Bob Treviño Insurance).

During last week’s special called meeting, board members requested a comparison between the previous health insurance agent, Ruth Villarreal Insurance, and Bob Treviño Insurance. Joel Treviño, the Assistant Superintendent for Administration and Finance, presented the comparison this week.

According to Joel Treviño, by changing to the highest-ranked vendor, LJISD will save $530,457 annually.

Along with saving the district money, the enrolling agent will conduct onsite and promote annual open enrollment for employees, conduct ongoing enrollment for new district employees and support La Joya ISD employees’ Benefits Departments Monday through Friday. Bob Treviño Insurance will have a contract term for one year and seven months (as opposed to an eight-year contract with the previous agent) with an option to extend for an additional year, a 30-day notice for the district to terminate the contract (as opposed to 60 days with a payment of $60,000 per month through the remaining contractual term) and will facilitate the district with local, state and federal regulations and requirements.

An onsite licenced agent will be provided four days per week with Bob Treviño Insurance, and will provide a 1-800 number to employees. Benefit booklets and related materials will be provided to employees, and they will assist with benefit awareness initiatives like health fairs, community walks and staff/committee meetings.

La Joya ISD is currently in litigation with Ruth Villarreal Insurance, owned by Ruth Villarreal, the wife of Hidalgo County Precinct 3 Commissioner Everardo “Ever” Villarreal. In Feb. 2020, LJISD filed a lawsuit against Ruth Villarreal Insurance accusing the agency of failing to disclose several of its employees and agents did not hold necessary licenses, and of trying to defraud the district.

Prior to the district’s suit, Ruth Villarreal Insurance filed its own lawsuit against LJISD in 2012, after the district approved a three-year contract and then voted to break the contract after a board election. The case was pending until 2017, when LJISD agreed to settle and pay Villarreal $300,000 and her attorneys $1.5 million.

The settlement also included the district contract with Villarreal for eight years. In the fall of 2019, consultant Tommy Taylor – a vice president at the Fort Worth-based Higginbotham insurance and financial services agency – said the district was overpaying Ruth Villarreal Insurance, and with renegotiating they could save $1.7 million.

When renegotiations failed, the district filed the lawsuit. During a special called meeting held on Dec. 2, 2020, the board voted to terminate contracts with Ruth Villarreal Insurance for services related to district health insurance and voluntary products, which was recommended by district legal counsel.

Last week, board member Alex Cantu voted against the approval to consider Bob Treviño Insurance, stating they still needed to see how the lawsuit plays out and the district needs to compensate the attorneys for their work on the matter. After the comparison was presented, the board continued with discussion on other items.

The contract up for bid by Bob Treviño Insurance was under the consent agenda of the meeting, and passed by the board. Alex Cantu voted to approve the consent agenda except the bid for the Bob Treviño Insurance contract without comment.

1 Comment

  1. Juanito on February 8, 2021 at 8:35 am

    OF course, does not surprise me at all. Ruth, Ever, families and friends are all crooked. I KNOW FOR A FACT! EVERYONE KNOWS BUT WITH $$$ EVERYONE WILL STAY QUIET ABOUT IT!!

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