Frequently Asked Questions
What is Valley Schools?
Valley Schools was created in 1987 by school districts through an intergovernmental agreement pursuant to ARS 11-952 as a non-profit entity to allow public entities to jointly purchase insurance and pool insurance risks. The Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) is a non-profit entity which provides professional management of insurance pools and trusts. VSMG has several trusts and pools it manages, including the Valley Schools Worker’s Compensation Pool (VSWCP), the Valley Schools Insurance Trust (VSIT) which handles liability insurance, and the Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) which provides health, dental, life, short term disability, vision, COBRA, and more.
What do the various acronyms VSMG, VSEBT, VSIT, VSWCP and HPACT mean?
The Valley Schools Management Group (VSMG) administers the financial, accounting, audits, investments, personnel, human resources, budgeting and other oversight of all the trusts under its umbrella. Valley Schools Employee Benefits Trust (VSEBT) provides health, dental, life insurance and other benefits. Valley Schools Workers’ Compensation Pool (VSWCP) provides workers’ compensation insurance. VSIT is the Valley Schools Insurance Trust which provides liability insurance. Health Plans for Arizona Cities and Towns (HPACT), is an employee benefits program designed specifically for the needs of municipalities.
How does Valley Schools save its members money?
Valley Schools combines employers into a larger group which gives them much more clout in the purchasing world. In addition, Valley Schools employs specialty contract negotiators familiar with each line of insurance that are able to negotiate better contracts and pricing vs an individual employer.
How easy is it to join Valley Schools?
Easy! Your public entity completes a one page form which may need to be approved by your governing board, and membership will always be free.
Does it cost anything to join Valley Schools?
No. Membership is free.
Do I have to change my carriers?
No. You can choose to use carriers through Valley Schools, or keep your current carriers.
Do I still need a broker or a consultant?
No, Valley Schools provides the consulting services to you.
How does Valley Schools make its money?
Valley Schools is created by governments, for governments. It is a not-for-profit entity and as such only needs funding to support its small number of accounting, service, contracting and support staff, along with paying for audits and additional services. Valley Schools does not have stock holders or make profits. By eliminating profit margins as a not-for-profit organization, the administrative costs for Valley Schools are well below the marketplace.
How long has Valley Schools been around?
Valley Schools was created in 1987.
How do I know Valley Schools is safe?
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 insure that claims are properly processed. The Arizona Department of Administration conducts regular examinations of Valley Schools.
How many members does Valley Schools have?
Valley Schools provides coverage and benefits to over 35,000 members.