50 Years Of WEA Trust
An Interview with Julie: 40 Years of Trust

This month, one of our employees Julie is celebrating her 40th work anniversary ...

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50 Years at the Trust

A sneak peek of what some of our employees had to say about ...

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50 years of WEA Trust

March 13, 1970

Beginning in 1969, the Wisconsin Education Association Inc. (WEAC) recognized the importance of providing quality benefits to its members and in response, decided to sponsor a trust fund that could provide its members the most effective health and welfare benefits than alternative insurance projects. This trust fund was named the WEA Insurance Trust. The Trust was officially formed on March 13, 1970 and with a $5,000 loan from WEAC, the first Board meeting took place in September 1970

Original Trustees

Original Trustees (1970). (Left to right): Gerald McDermot, Don Williams, Kenneth Grove, Charlie Crump (standing), Lucille Hafner, James Beistle, Jim Guckenberg (WEAC President)

1972

The Trust first offers health and dental benefits and the WEA Liability & Casualty Insurance Trust is created. A Board of Trustees—all public-school employees or retirees—oversees the Trust’s operations and serves without financial compensation.

1972-1974

In the 1970’s Wisconsin Physicians Service (WPS) insured the 106 school groups that chose to participate in the newly formed WEA Trust. WPS continued to underwrite the plans while the Trust handled the administration. As the two company’s missions began to grow and change, the Trust separated from WPS and 100 of the school groups decided to remain with WPS. Six school groups remained with WEA Trust. During these early years, the Trust had one full time employee.

1974

WEA Trust hired three more full-time employees, bringing the total employee count to four.

1976

As WEA Trust’s range of benefits and cost-savings increased, by the fall of 1976 130 groups had joined. During this same time period, the Liability and Casualty Insurance Trust was formed.

1977

By 1977 WEA Trust had become the 13th largest health insurer in Wisconsin and moved its 65 employees into a new facility at the Grand Teton Plaza in Madison.

Grand Teton Plaza Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for Grand Teton Plaza. (Left to right): Neil Komplin, Monica McCauley, Charlie Crump, Lucille Hafner, Nelda Newell, James Beistle, Jim Blank, Don Williams, Charlie Miller

1985

The WEA Insurance Trust creates the WEA Insurance Corporation. At this time the Trust had grown to 105 employees and over 77,000 subscribers. The Trust was doing $54 million a year in business with the health plans in more than 200 school districts and long-term disability plans in more than 250 districts. Terry Herndon is named as WEA Trust President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

1986

Current Wisconsin Education Association Insurance Trust Board and WEA Insurance Corporation Board Member, Margaret Guertler, is appointed from Berlin High School.

1989

In the summer of 1989, WEA Trust had grown to 175 employees and was the largest insurer of school employees in Wisconsin. The company moved to a new building at 45 Nob Hill Road off of the Beltline Highway.

Nob Hill Road Groundbreaking

Groundbreaking for Nob Hill Road. (Left to Right): Dennis Hortum, Margaret Guertler, Jim Blank, Bill Roberts, Margo El-Zeini, Janice Virlee, Bill Buckley, Kenneth Oudenhoven

1990

Current Wisconsin Education Association Insurance Trust Board and WEA Insurance Corporation Board Chair, Mary Theisen, is appointed from Oak Creek High School.

1993

WEA Trust creates a new group health plan for retirees, called WEA-MedPlus. The WEA Property & Casualty Insurance Company is also established.

1995

WEA Trust quickly became an insurance company like no other. At this time, the Trust’s health plan was covering psychiatric and chiropractic services long before the law required insurance companies to offer these benefits. It was also the first insurer in the state to cover organ transplants as a standard benefit. WEA Trust also was the first to offer a disability plan that replaces 90% of an employee’s income and first to scientifically prove that individuals who have timely access to medical information can make informed, cost-effective healthcare decisions. Because of these efforts and many more, WEA Trust was awarded the prestigious C. Everett Koop National Health Award in 1995.

1997

WEA Liability & Casualty Insurance Trust changes its name to the WEAC Member Benefit Trust. The name eventually shortens to its current name, WEA Member Benefits.

1998

Al Jacobs is named as WEA Trust President and CEO.

2000

The WEA Insurance Trust enrolls its 200,000th subscribers and employees more than 300 people, serving more than 300 school districts.

WEA Trust Employees 2000

WEA Trust Employees (2000)

2005

The 500th WEA Trust employee is hired, and a new building is opened on the Nob Hill campus.

2006

Fred Evert is named as WEA Trust President and CEO. Evert was hired as WEA Trust's 11th employee in 1975.

2007

By the end of 2007, WEA Trust ranked top in the nation for its customer service. The health plan enrollment was 138,024 and 71% of eligible school districts were insured through the Trust.

WEA Trust Customer Service

WEA Trust Customer Service (2009)

2010

Mark Moody is named as WEA Trust President and CEO.

2011

The 2011 Wisconsin Act 10 was proposed by Governor Scott Walker and passed by the Wisconsin Legislature. Without collective bargaining in place, WEA Trust lost roughly a third of its school groups. In 2011, WEA Trust expanded to serve all public employees by participating in the state and local employee health plan covered by the Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program (State Health Plan).

2012

In just its second year in the State Health Plan, WEA Trust gained 18,000 members to become the fastest growing plan in the program.

2016

WEA Trust introduces a new corporate brand and logo. The branding change emphasized the evolution of WEA Trust, expanding its mission to serve all Wisconsin public employees.

WEA Trust Logo

2017

WEA Trust continues its roots of innovation and creativity and is the first health plan in Wisconsin to launch virtual behavioral health visits—battling the access and stigma issues that those with mental health conditions face. In addition, WEA Trust partners with local Wisconsin startup, Kiio to address low back pain through personalized technology and care management. Mike Quist is named as WEA Trust President and CEO.

2018

WEA Trust acquires a new health plan, Health Tradition. WEA Trust Corporation also created a Shared Services Organization, NeuGen, to provide services to both WEA Trust and Health Tradition Health Plan. By the end of 2018, WEA Trust had $654 million in cash and investments and 171 million in surplus compared to the OCI required Security Surplus of $74 million.

2020

WEA Trust celebrates its 50th anniversary of serving Wisconsin school districts and public employees. The Trust has more than 270 employees and remains on the Nob Hill campus.