Bits and Pieces: People Issues, LA Legislative Victory, Health Insurance

By Jim Moody, CAE

CSA President

We’re starting to hear a lot of members talking about problems with “the people thing.” As I’ve been to roundtables this spring, I’ve heard it time and time again. Finding and keeping good people is a lot tougher than it used to be. We just conducted a summit in Birmingham on this topic and found that we’d hit a nerve.

So often we think about HR in terms of compliance, and certainly that’s been a big issue in the past couple of weeks with the issuance of the rules on overtime by the Obama administration. But HR is much broader than that, and it’s a lot harder to do well than the “simple” compliance things. At the summit, we talked about recruitment and continuous performance appraisal among other things. The attendees asked us to continue this discussion, perhaps through a roundtable where people with similar interests meet a couple times per year.

It’s not often that your customers (in our case, members) tell you in such clear terms what they want, so we will certainly take that to heart and make plans to offer more along those lines.

Meanwhile, one of our members made national news on an HR issue. Ray Gaster and his business in Savannah, Ga., was highlighted in a New York Times article on how difficult it’s become to find potential employees who can pass a drug test.

Click here for the article.

Incidentally, this isn’t Ray’s first brush with fame. A few years ago when President Obama made comments about people not building businesses without outside (i.e., government) help, Ray posted a sign outside his store that refuted that claim. Fox News was all over it.

Louisiana Legislative Success
I want to thank our Louisiana members who worked hard in the past couple of months to defeat a legislative proposal that would have changed contract law to benefit contractors at the expense of dealers. As you can imagine, the contractors put a lot of muscle behind this, but our members were up to the challenge.

Lots of phone calls were made and letters sent. We even had dealers show up at the capitol for a committee hearing. I was impressed with this effort.

This is a perfect example of how a group can come together for the greater good. Thanks to all of you who took the time to do what was asked. While it appears dead for this year, I’m sure our opponents will not go away so easily, and we may need to gear up again next year.

Health Insurance
CSA participates in the Physicians Alliance Health Plan Trust, which provides real insurance but underwrites in a different way than “regular” insurance companies. We joined this program when Obamacare was initially being implemented to give members another option. Unfortunately the program is only licensed in Georgia and Alabama at this time. We’re working on Mississippi and Louisiana, but it’s not available today.

The program runs on the CIGNA network, meaning access to a large group of physicians and hospitals. It works well, as I observed first-hand in November when an unfortunate food poisoning event put me in the hospital for three days.

This program is not a panacea for all your health insurance issues. If you have a lot of older, sicker employees, you may find that name-brand plans that underwrite using Obamacare criteria will be cheaper. But, if you have relatively healthy employees and are not interested in subsidizing everyone else’s unhealthy employees, this program is something you should explore.

I’m mentioning this today because we are about to embark on a marketing campaign with our partner, Connected Benefits. As you see materials about the plan, please know that they are indeed working on our behalf. I hope that many of you will allow us the opportunity to quote your health insurance. Hopefully we can save you and your employees some money.