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Sharon Granskog
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 AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT unify efforts under umbrella trust

​Two cornerstones of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) family, AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT, announced they are unifying efforts under an umbrella trust. The statement came during the opening Plenary Session at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference on Friday, Jan. 5.

"This is an important step as we continue to focus on providing ongoing value to our members," said AVMA President Dr. Michael Topper. "As AVMA president, my overarching desire has been to build on past progress for a stronger future for all veterinarians and those they serve. I have no doubt that members of AVMA, AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT will experience enhanced services as a result of this new structure."

The formation of the umbrella trust was a collaborative process and one which will continue to evolve toward full unification. Each entity provided thoughtful input, review and deliberation into the restructured entity. Seven trustees will be appointed to the new umbrella trust and these same seven will serve as the trustees on the boards of AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT. Of these seven, two will be current trustees from AVMA LIFE, two will be current trustees of AVMA PLIT, and three will be new appointees.

"This approach ensures synergy and sound strategic direction while maintaining excellent service delivery to members," said Dr. Janet Donlin, AVMA executive vice president and chief executive officer. "Our focus has been and will always be on providing excellent service and value that our members rely on and have come to expect."

Trustees who currently serve on the boards of AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT, but will not serve on the umbrella trust, will be involved on an advisory panel. Their years of dedicated service to the AVMA family will provide critical perspective. "We are grateful for the dedication and commitment the trustees have provided throughout the years, and thank them for their continued support of the veterinary profession through this transition," said Dr. Donlin.

The trusts have served AVMA members well for 60 years. AVMA LIFE offers 'veterinarian-inspired' coverage for all stages of a veterinarian's and their family members' lives and AVMA PLIT ensures that veterinarians have an advocate in the management of their professional liability claims, as well as their business insurance needs.

"AVMA LIFE has been, and continues to be, concerned with all aspects of veterinarians' wellbeing," said Libby Wallace, chief executive officer of AVMA LIFE. "We are distinctive in that we understand the unique aspects of a career in veterinary medicine. As such, our member advocate will continue to assist AVMA members with resolving complex medical claims and evaluate medical plans. And members can rest assured that their current AVMA LIFE plans will remain unchanged, but the ways we serve veterinarians will continue to evolve."

Representatives from each group expressed confidence that the unified umbrella trust is an evolution that ensures the needs of veterinarians are met now and into the future.

"'Veterinarians serving veterinarians' is more than a tagline," said Dr. Andrew Clark, AVMA PLIT chief executive officer. "We have always been, and always will be, absolutely member focused. We are adapting to match the changing needs of AVMA members. The umbrella trust is an example of our veterinary family unifying efforts and evolving to the next level of heightened member focus."

The umbrella trust will be exploring valuable products and services, including bundling of products to provide a suite of services—all supported by exemplary customer service.

"AVMA, AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT each enter 2018 financially healthy and strongly positioned in today's veterinary market," said Dr. Donlin. "They possess unique strengths and offer singular services for the benefit of all AVMA members. And, of course, we will continue to update our members as the trusts evolve toward full unification."

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