CBE announced the addition of the world's largest tax preparer as the CBE newest partner. They have made special arrangements exclusively for FEA Members.
CBE announce a dividend payment of $1.00 per share. This is the 19th consecutive year that a dividend as been paid to this FEA Local's owned company.
The BMG Money program called "LoansAtWork" has become CBE's newest partner. With over 40 public and non-profit employers embracing this program, the CBE Advisory Council and Board have approved their services. The LoansAtWork program provides payroll deducted loans to full-time employees that cannot qualify for traditional loans, especially with emergencies, through banks or credit unions.
With 36 years of experience with employee/employer benefits, the CBE Board appointed Ed Baum as President. Past President, Jim Geiger remains as Chairman of the Board.
Late in 2011, the Independent Benefits Council (IBC) received a three-year grant to provide financial and retirement education for Florida's K12 employees. If you are not familiar with the IBC, it is made up of the four major education groups - the Florida Education Association, the Florida Association of School Administrators, the Florida Association of District School Superintendents and the Florida School Boards Association. IBC has worked on a number of projects over the years which have included retirement reform, healthcare initiatives and most recently the creation of the Model Plan highlighting the best of the to 403b plans available to Florida school employees.
As a part of the IBC grant project, Creative Benefits' Ed Baum was asked to facilitate a series of Focus Groups to research a better understanding of the needs and desires of school employees for financial educational information. Focus Groups were conducted throughout the State with FEA Local leaders, teachers, support staff, risk managers and administrators. From this information, it is clear that definite need exists for financial and retirement education. Another clear need is to have the financial information be age-focused so that some information is geared toward newer/younger employees, some for those in the mid-career, and other information for those nearing retirement.
IBC has retained SST, a California based consulting firm, to assist it in developing this much needed financial education package and determine the most effective way to deliver it to employees at all levels of the education system. This new program is expected to be available later in the year.
Following 18 months of study, Shareholders at the Annual Shareholders Meeting in October voted overwhelmingly for Creative Benefits for Educators (CBE) to buy out all of its individual shareholders as part of a Leveraged Buy-Out (LBO). Shareholders voted by a 97% to 3% margin to approve the LBO. The Company took possession of the newly acquired stock at the December 15th closing, but will pay the purchase price on an installment basis over the next ten years.
The Company's Shareholders also approved a transition plan that will assure continuation of CBE's management and operating philosophy. All members of the Company's Board of Directors were re-elected to new terms and President Jim Geiger has agreed to remain as the Company's leader for at least two more years. Geiger said, "The major concern was finding a way to shift Company ownership 100% to the Union, while maintaining the programs and services that have made CBE so successful over the years. CBE has long-term relationships with its Business Partners and we expect those to continue for many years to come."
Creative Benefits for Educators was founded in 1976 under the name 'PESCO" and has been serving the education community for more than 35 years. Under the LBO nearly 50% of the Company's outstanding stock was acquired. The decision was made to retire the shares as Treasury Stock. The net effect is that each of the 99 Local Unions that currently own stock will see their shares nearly double in value.
Recently, President Angela Callahan and the Baker County Education Association hosted a "Pension Savvy" Workshop lead by VALIC's North Florida District Manager, Jerry Tyson. Tyson discussed FRS, DROP and investment plan options to more than 30 members at Westside Elementary School. Informative handouts were provided. Members and their spouses had the opportunity to participate in a lively question and answer session. John Lotze, a VALIC Financial Advisor, met personally with individual members to offer assistance in planning a rewarding and successful retirement.
Many in the packed roomed learned for the first that as union members they were eligible to receive a state-of-the-art financial planning tool called the Members Advantage Plan (MAP). MAP is a $1,500 value that is offered without charge to union members.
Contact Creative Benefits or your local VALIC office to see how you can benefit.
Peace of mind, convenience, exceptional customer service and customized benefit packages are only a few of the reasons why UTD members continue to take advantage of American Fidelity's supplemental health and life insurance benefits. AFA is also committed to supporting UTD's recruiting and retention efforts and has signed up approximately 300 new members through their enrollments over the last six years.
UTD President Karen Aronowitz says, "American Fidelity offers UTD members exclusive access to options that meet their individual needs. I encourage all of our members who are in the market for insurance products such as disability, life and hospital plans to consider American Fidelity."
With over 50 years of serving educators and school employees as a foundation, American Fidelity has demonstrated its dedication to protecting members and their families by providing tailored solutions, based on individual needs that are offered at competitive rates.
VALIC, a Creative Benefits for Educators' business partner, VALIC, will be providing seminars for local unions throughout the state to help educators cope with the expected changes. Employees and their families will need to refocus on their retirement objectives. Union members are eligible for a personal financial plan and VALIC waives the regular fee ($500 to $1,500) for members.
The 2011 Florida Legislature is focusing on major changes in the pension and benefits available to Florida's school employees. Among the items on the Legislature's "to do" list is a requirement that employees begin to make contributions to their retirement plans for the first time since 1974. It also appears likely that future employees will no longer be eligible for the traditional FRS retirement, but will instead be shifted to a 401(k) type defined contribution plan, much like the private sector. DROP appears well on the way to drastic change or perhaps eliminated altogether. Retirees may also be impacted with possible changes to the annual cost of living (COLA) adjustment, as well as a reduction or elimination of the $150 per month health care allowance.
Creative Benefits and Liberty Mutual have launched a program to achieve dedicated payroll slots in twenty counties. The program provides payroll deduction for Liberty Mutual for homeowners and automobile insurance, saving members as much as $450 on processing fees in addition to Liberty Mutual’s already discounted rates for members. David Worrell, president of Leon Classroom Teacher’s Association, the first county with a fully operating payroll slot, reports 25 new Liberty Mutual policies in one month. There also has been a bump in membership due in large part to Liberty Mutual representatives and Leon Classroom Teachers Association representatives teaming up to visit schools. Creative Benefits has been involved in the development and implementation of the program. In today’s economic environment, teachers and school employees need all of the cost saving programs they can take advantage of and this program offers great incentives for members.
For almost two years, Creative Benefits for Educators has been in the forefront of activities putting Florida educators in position to benefit from coming changes in federal regulations regarding employee funded retirement programs. See the following questions and answers regarding the coming changes and how they will affect you and all members of FEA. Read More.