AVMA PLIT transforms brand, expands outreach

Insurance trust building on AVMA member satisfaction through refreshed identity, simplified resources
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The AVMA PLIT recently conducted a research study of its policyholders and other AVMA members to gain insights into their liability and business insurance needs and was both gratified and motivated by the results.

“We asked what they valued—we wanted the unvarnished truth. What we heard back was refreshing. They thought of us as their trusted partner. What also came out was that they don’t understand the program as well as they could,” PLIT CEO Janet Donlin said.

The results of the extensive study and subsequent rebranding initiative are a refreshed image and expanded educational programs and risk management tools, which, at press time, PLIT officials planned to introduce at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, Jan. 8-11 in Chicago, where they would enlist leaders’ help in sharing the message.

AVMA PLIT Protecting you through it all

“It was such a positive story in terms of the research,” Dr. Donlin said, “and it means a lot to them that the program comes from us, that it’s overseen by veterinarians.”

The PLIT’s new brand is the first of three being launched this year by AVMA entities. The Association itself plans to implement its branding efforts starting this summer, and the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust intends to follow suit in September.

Branding casts ‘a whole new light’

The centerpiece of the AVMA PLIT rebranding initiative is its new logo and the tag line “Protecting you through it all.” A press announcement states, ‘We’re inviting members to see us in a whole new light.”

Other new brand elements include a print ad and a list of the “Top 10 reasons why we protect you better.” The promotional materials incorporate action-oriented photography and color schemes differentiating the various PLIT services.

The streamlined brand elements are more than a new image. The contemporary look reflects the PLIT’s commitment to delivery of simplified and enhanced policy resources for busy insureds. When researchers asked what would help them the most, they asked for highlight points, short lists, and concise executive summaries, for example.

Such features will be found in educational resources under the refreshed brand and communicated through the PLIT’s newsletters, webinars, articles, and a new microsite, youravmaplit.com. The site provides additional information including the new logo and communication materials. The main website is www.avmaplit.com.

Surveying AVMA members, recalibrating resources

Dr. Donlin said the PLIT thought it was critical to reach out to AVMA members who are insured by the PLIT as well as those insured elsewhere to find out what they valued and needed.

The previous PLIT logo

More than 60,000 veterinarians have insurance policies through the PLIT for coverages that include professional liability, license defense, student liability, workers’ compensation, business property damage and liability, employment practice liability, flood damage, data breaches, event liability and cancellation, and association director and officer liability.

The research included focus groups; interviews with equine, food animal, and companion animal veterinarians, along with veterinary students and practice managers; and an online survey completed by 1,235 veterinarians.

According to Dr. Donlin, the message came through that veterinarians are small-business people who want PLIT’s help to determine the coverage they need, and they want the information available 24/7 on the Web. “So, we’re really enriching our educational components,” she said.

On the AVMA PLIT research results:

They thought of us as their trusted partner. What also came out was that they don’t understand the program as well as they could.

Dr. Janet Donlin, CEO, AVMA PLIT

Veterinarians deemed it “absolutely essential” that they participate in a program overseen by veterinarians and tailored to the needs of veterinarians and veterinary practices. Though PLIT insurance was viewed as a top benefit available to AVMA members, about one in four respondents admitted to not fully understanding their malpractice policy. The research findings indicate that AVMA members aren’t fully aware of all the benefits available to them. For example, 34 percent don’t realize the PLIT program offers business insurance.

The AVMA House of Delegates established the PLIT in 1962, initially as the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust. The delegates planned for the program to provide malpractice policies designed for veterinarians rather than modifications of physician or dentist policies. In 1984, the Trust started providing business insurance, such as workers’ compensation insurance, through the program.

The PLIT is led by a board of trustees consisting of seven veterinarians selected by the AVMA and a liaison veterinarian from the AVMA. The PLIT program has helped protect the reputations of veterinarians at all stages of their careers and helped guide them through tough legal situations and license complaints, according to the Trust.

PLIT Chair Andrew R. Clark said, “Whether you’re working in a private practice, corporate general practice, specialty clinic, or academic setting, or if you are an associate or an owner, your colleagues at the PLIT are here to protect you through it all.”

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA also planning member-centered changes (Jan. 15, 2015)