Osceola Schools lawsuit against insurance consultant can continue, judge says

Schools of Osceola lawsuit against his former health insurance consultant won a legal battle in court.

U.S. District Judge Anne Conway denied the consultant’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit last week.

For seven years, Gallagher Benefits Services helped the Osceola School District navigate the insurance industry by analyzing and making recommendations on which carrier the district should hire.

In return, Gallagher received annual dues from insurance companies, but the school district capped Gallagher’s commissions at $195,650 “to avoid the self-serving inducements that might accompany this financial arrangement,” the judge wrote in his prescription.

In a lawsuit filed last year, the district accused Gallagher of breaching that agreement and being paid more than $2 million in “secret commissions from insurance companies he recommended to the board.” “, indicates the ordinance.

“Gallagher presented itself as a company well placed to provide consultancy and brokerage services to the board of directors. He also stated that he (would remain) impartial during all business dealings, disclose all compensation received, and represent the best interests of the board in all ongoing interactions,” Judge wrote.

The judge ruled that the district’s lawsuit against Gallagher could proceed despite Gallagher’s objections on several issues, including the lawsuit not providing specific details about the amount and the insurance companies that paid Gallagher the alleged payments secrets.

For the Gallagher lawsuit, the school district is asking for at least $2 million of Gallagher’s alleged secret payments to create a fund for teachers in the district.

“The district is also seeking punitive damages for Gallagher’s breach of fiduciary duty and fraud,” the judge wrote. “In this case, the school board’s factual allegations provide a reasonable basis to believe that Gallagher committed willful misconduct. These allegations of fraud are sufficient to warrant a claim for punitive damages. …Greed, as the school board points out, is a relevant factor for punitive damages.

“Punitive damages are the great equalizer, the one thing that can bring corporate America to heel when they act wrongly,” the district attorney said. Tucker Byrd said when contacted for comment on Wednesday.

Gallagher had recommended that Osceola schools use Cigna as an insurance company.

The relationship between the Cigna and Osceola schools eventually fell apart and led to more litigation in the Osceola County Circuit Court.

The school district alleged that Cigna “conservatively failed to endorse treatment and the inability to negotiate competitive prices for prescriptions and medical procedures forced the school board to grossly overpay health care providers and physicians.” pharmacies”.

Cigna, on the other hand, denied the allegations. Cigna sued the district, arguing that the district failed to competitively bid for new contracts after the school system decided not to renew Cigna’s contract.

Cigna North Florida Market President Dean Mirabella told Florida Politics last year, “We previously provided health plan administration to Osceola County School District employees for nearly 20 years. During this relationship, our contract has been continually evaluated and voted on by the District Supply and Insurance Committee based on our successful track record of making healthcare affordable, predictable and simple for teachers, administrators and staff. …As a valued partner for nearly two decades, we have negotiated fair and competitive discounted rates for the customers we serve.

Gallagher could not be reached for immediate comment on Wednesday.

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