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County selects agent of record
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When Effingham County commissioners begin to look at health insurance plans again, it will have Larry Hadden and Hadden Insurance helping guide the process.

Commissioners voted to approve making Hadden its agent of record for medical, life and ancillary benefit plans. Having an agent of record will allow the commissioners to go to the open market and bring information back to the board, according to County Administrator David Crawley.

“It allows the commissioners to drill down into the plans and perhaps tweak the plans a little more,” Crawley said. “It gives you more flexibility and more control.”

A committee selected the top four firms to interview, and two of them “clearly jumped to the top,” Crawley said. The final choices came down between Hadden and Wells Fargo, and the insurance committee spent several hours in discussions before making its recommendation.

“It was a very close process,” Crawley added. “They were all four very good presentations. It was a very difficult decision for the committee.”

Thirteen companies requested information on the agent of record proposal and nine firms submitted packages.

“We gave serious time and consideration to each company,” said Commissioner Vera Jones. “We all agreed who the top two were. Wells Fargo was very impressive. It was a very hard decision.”

Jones said with all things being equal, Hadden’s record of service to the county merited his firm being the agent of record. She also said the commissioners will try to look for savings in the employees’ insurance plan.

“We asked some pointed questions about how do we provide employees good coverage and save the taxpayers money, and Larry Hadden presented ways and ideas of doing that that we believe are going to be efficient and effective,” Jones said.

“We spent a lot of work and effort and hours on this trying to be sure we did the right thing for the taxpayers,” she said. “I do believe we have good insurance for our employees and we want to be able to keep good insurance for our employees. And we want to see if we can save some money.”

Hadden has been working with the county for about 16 years.

Commissioners had tabled the agent of record decision at their May 17 meeting. The agent of record arrangement can be ended at any time, and Crawley said the county may explore making any insurance package it approves good for five years.

“I feel the hardest decisions are yet to come,” Commissioner Bob Brantley said.