Health plan suit resolved

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By Don McHoull

Faced with a million dollar lawsuit over a broken insurance contract, RyeSAC backed down.

In an out-of-court settlement disclosed last week, RyeSAC agreed to pay their former insurance broker Gallivan and Associates $35,000 and will reinstate the company as their broker for health and dental insurance contracts next year.

In return, Gallivan agreed to provide RyeSAC with price quotes from a wider range of health insurance providers.

“I was ready to do whatever we needed to do to ensure that both parties in the end were satisfied,” said RyeSAC President Darren Cooney.

RyeSAC prematurely broke their contract with Gallivan in August in order to sign on for a cheaper deal with the National Student Health Network, a non-profit health broker run by the Canadian Federation of Students.

Through the National Student Health Network, RyeSAC brokered a deal with non-profit health insurance provider Green Shield Canada.

Even after they switch back to Gallivan, RyeSAC intends to retain Green Shield Canada as their insurance provider.

“Costs will go up, but not as high, because we will be maintaining our links with Green Shield, and we will continue paying those low premiums,” said Sajjad Wasti, RyeSAC’s vice-president finance and services.

Wasti said costs would increase because of the high premiums charged by Gallivan.

Even after paying out the settlement, RyeSAC will have saved $102,600 versus what it would have cost them had they stayed with Gallivan this year.

Cooney said RyeSAC were still considering how to spend the remaining $59,000 surplus.

Gallivan had also threatened the CFS with a $5 million lawsuit, which a federation representative said was settles out of court with no money changing hands.

Philip Link, the CFS’s director of programmes, said the lawsuit was a frivolous attempt to blame the National Student Health Network for enticing RyeSAC to break its contract.

Link denied that the CFS had done anything wrong, and said the lawsuit was just a pressure tactic.

“It’s pretty typical with something like a lawsuit,” he said. “You want to try to intimidate the other party.”

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