AVMA Life offers ‘Veterinarian Inspired Coverage’

The former AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust introduces new name and brand
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AVMA Life is the new name of the Trust that has provided life insurance, disability insurance, and other coverage for veterinarians, by veterinarians, over the course of more than half a century—and that plans to provide all these products in years to come.

The former AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust introduced its new name and brand during the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference, Jan. 7-10 in Chicago.

The new tag line is “Veterinarian Inspired Coverage.” Dr. Carolynn MacAllister, chair of AVMA Life, said the tag line epitomizes why the Trust exists and what the Trust does to protect veterinarians at every stage of life.

The AVMA established the Trust in 1956 as the AVMA Group Insurance Trust to offer health, life, and disability insurance to AVMA members at group rates. The Trust changed its name to the AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust in 1986 to differentiate itself from the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust, now the AVMA PLIT.

The GHLIT added coverage over the years in areas such as dental, vision, long-term care, professional overhead expense, and maternity. Because of the Affordable Care Act, the Trust had to discontinue directly offering health insurance after 2013, developing a health insurance exchange instead.

The new name, AVMA Life, and the new brand reflect the Trust’s continuing commitment to offering insurance for AVMA members’ personal lives.

Behind the name

Libby Wallace, chief executive officer of AVMA Life, said almost 28,000 AVMA members have one or more lines of coverage through the Trust, for a total of about 69,500 lines of coverage. The Trust lost only about 4,000 AVMA members following the loss of health insurance.

The trustees who oversee AVMA Life are nine AVMA members and one AVMA staff member. They work with New York Life Insurance Co., underwriter of the Trust, to develop products for veterinarians. Wallace said the trustees evaluated all the products that the Trust provides while they were working with 88 Brand Partners on the new name and brand.

Surveys and focus groups with AVMA members indicated confusion about the name AVMA Group Health & Life Insurance Trust in light of the loss of health insurance. Wallace said the new name helps bring clarity. The new brand provides a fresh look and feel, she said.

“It speaks to the membership,” Wallace said. “We want to be there to help support them in any way that we can.”

The research with AVMA members found that they see the Trust as the expert in insurance. They want the flexibility to change plans with life changes, and they want plans customized for veterinarians. They seek guidance and education on coverage. They see the Trust as responsive to their needs.

AVMA Life logoWallace said AVMA Life is focusing on what AVMA members want, even beyond insurance. She said the branding process “gave us an opportunity to look at the Trust and where could we bring more value for members.”

The Trust has updated its disability insurance, for example, and added insurance for critical illness and life insurance for seniors that includes an early payment benefit for certain medical conditions. The insurance package for members of the Student AVMA now includes a $300 benefit toward rabies vaccination.

Wallace said AVMA Life is exploring services such as refinancing of student debt and providing an advocate program for costly or complex medical claims.

The new brand

Michael D. McGuire, president and chief executive officer of 88 Brand Partners, said research with AVMA members found confusion and frustration over the loss of health insurance—with some members thinking that the Trust was defunct—and confusion between the two insurance trusts.

While the AVMA PLIT offers insurance for veterinarians’ professional lives, McGuire said, AVMA Life provides products to make veterinarians’ personal lives better. He said, “These are products that are unique to veterinarians, but we recognize that veterinarians also have rich personal lives.”

The launch of the AVMA Life brand follows the launch of the new PLIT brand during the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference in January 2015 and the launch of the new AVMA brand during the AVMA Annual Convention in July 2015. All three organizations worked with 88 Brand Partners.

“The AVMA Life brand is much more lifestyle-based,” McGuire said. “The colors tend to be a little bit warmer and richer. The photography is a great juxtaposition between photography of veterinarians in practice situations as well as in personal situations.”

The new AVMA Life logo is in the same font and style as the new AVMA PLIT logo. The AVMA PLIT logo is green with the tag line “Protecting you through it all.” The AVMA Life logo is orange with the tag line “Veterinarian Inspired Coverage.”

Through the new brand, AVMA Life aims to share these messages with AVMA members:

  • We are your trusted team of insurance experts and experienced veterinarians.
  • We deliver the most tailored and relevant personal insurance program available to veterinarians.
  • So, you can always be confident you’re supported by the coverage and expertise you need as a veterinary professional.

Behind the tag line

The Trust always can improve how it communicates and represents itself, Dr. MacAllister said. She said the new name of AVMA Life really represents what the Trust does, is easier to remember than GHLIT, and feels more modern.

Dr. MacAllister likes the new tag line, “Veterinarian Inspired Coverage,” even more than she likes the new name. She said, “We learned that veterinary involvement on the part of the trustees in the development and management of this program was critically important to our members.”

As an AVMA Life trustee, Dr. MacAllister has interacted with AVMA members in various circumstances, from submitting insurance applications to submitting disability claims. She always had a sense that “they knew that AVMA was in their corner.”

Additional information about the new AVMA Life brand is available at www.MyAVMALife.com. The Trust’s main website is now www.AVMALife.com.

Related JAVMA content:

AVMA GHLIT marks 50 years of service to veterinarians (Dec. 15, 2006)

AVMA GHLIT medical insurance to end after 2013 (Feb. 15, 2013)

Trust connects members with medical, other insurance (March 1, 2014)