Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Education

Pasco school district further backs away from insurance offer

LAND O'LAKES — The likelihood of Pasco County school district employees getting a new, free life insurance policy continues to shrink.

District leaders refused to send a letter to state insurance regulators reaffirming their intent to participate in the program, pending the outcome of a state review. The Office of Insurance Regulation is looking into whether a proposal to allow New York investors to put about $400 million tax-free into life insurance premiums would violate any rules or laws.

Some critics have suggested the concept is a scheme, similar to stranger-owned insurance. At least one expert has advised the district to stay away from the plan.

The financial adviser promoting the deal, Pollock Financial, asked superintendent Kurt Browning to send a letter to the OIR, saying without the district's statement of continuing interest the arrangement would collapse.

"I've got to make sure whatever we put in place is in the best interest of the employees and the district," Browning said.

The School Board has voted not to proceed with the plan until all due diligence has been completed and members can get assurances that the idea is legitimate. District leaders originally examined the proposal as a way to bolster funding for employee benefits. Assistant superintendent Ray Gadd wrote in a letter to Pollock Financial that they still had some interest.

"We appreciate your persistence and are hopeful that the purported benefits of the plan actually come to fruition," Gadd wrote, telling the group that the district would not be sending its requested letter of support.

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