Improvements at ASI Will Benefit Members

Officials with NASW Assurance Services, Inc., announced in August that they have selected a new insurance administrator, AGIA Insurance Services, and a new group insurance company, The Hartford, an A-plus-rated carrier.

Tony Benedetto, executive vice president of NASW Assurance Services, said the changes will result in newly enhanced benefits at no additional cost to insured members. Existing insured members should have or will receive new certificates of insurance reflecting the changes, he noted.

"Members will not be losing any benefits because of these changes, nor will they see rate increases due to the additional benefits they will be receiving," Benedetto said.

NASW Assurance Services is a wholly-owned subsidiary of NASW, responsible for designing, securing, and overseeing high-quality, competitive insurance, financial and other programs and services offered to social workers.

Benedetto said the changes occurred as a result of analyzing existing programs against competitive options in the market. Research showed by making the changes, annual expenses could be reduced while at the same time insurance products for members could be enhanced.

"AGIA has superior services in billing and it offers the ability to contact licensed agents by telephone," Benedetto said. "Before, we had to pay a separate call center to handle phone calls to licensed agents. AGIA also has a sophisticated billing system, which will save us money on production costs. In the future, we hope that these savings will allow us to provide more benefits at no additional cost to members.

"We're pleased that The Hartford offers programs that reflect the values typically supported by social workers," Benedetto added.

The Hartford has a focus on investing in communities that help those with disabilities, he said. "They support speakers with disabilities who travel across the country to speak about the benefits of hiring those with disabilities," he noted.

"Our new carrier also offers programs in line with our values, such as focusing on products for seniors as they age," Benedetto said.

AGIA began servicing accounts as of Sept. 2. The Hartford began as the group insurance company as of Oct. 1. For those with malpractice coverage, American Professional Agency, Inc. (800-421-6694) will continue to service professional liability insurance accounts, according to NASW Assurance Services.

All claims incurred prior to Oct. 1, 2008, will remain the responsibility of Principal Financial Group.

Claims incurred on or after Oct. 1, 2008, will be the responsibility of The Hartford, and may be submitted to NASW Assurance Services, Group Insurance Program Administrators, P.O. Box 9060, Phoenix, AZ 85068-9060.