AIA Trust Annual Report


About the AIA Trust

Statement of Purpose

Goals of the AIA Trust

2011 Highlights

AIA Trust Collaboration with the AIA

AIA Trust Programs

AIA Trust 2012 Plans


The Trust uses no AIA dues dollars, reimbursing the AIA for all its overhead.

The AIA Trust was established 59 years ago to provide quality benefits to AIA Members. It was formed as a separate entity from the AIA due to IRS regulations governing ERISA trusts. The AIA Trust operates on a break-even basis, receiving revenues from program partners in the form of administrative fees. The net of operating expenses is frequently invested in member activities and benefits, including white papers on cutting edge topics, component seminars and meeting sponsorships, scholarships and donations. The Trust uses no AIA dues dollars, reimbursing the AIA for all its overhead.

The AIA Trust is one of the largest enterprises allied with The American Institute of Architects. The dollar volume managed by Trust providers from the “policies in force,” including retirement assets, is more than $100 million. The Trustees and Executive Director work with independent consultants to identify and evaluate various programs to ensure the best available plans are offered to members and components. The Trust negotiates, obtains, and maintains these agreements. With nearly 20,000 policies and plans combined, many serving more members within firms or small groups, the Trust serves one of the largest segments of the AIA membership.

  • Stephen Q. Whitney, FAIA, Chair
  • Marlene S. Imirzian, AIA, Chair-elect
  • Ivenue Love-Stanley, FAIA, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Edward M. Hord, FAIA, Trustee
  • Beverly Hauschild-Baron, Hon AIA, Component Executive, Trustee
  • Michael L. Prifti, FAIA, Trustee
  • James B. Atkins, FAIA, FKIA, Trustee
  • Ann Casso, Executive Director

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It shall be the purpose and the policy of The AIA Trust to develop and make available at the greatest possible value, insurance and benefit programs for members and components of the American Institute of Architects; and to serve as a risk management resource for the practice of architecture in cooperation with the Institute.


  1. To provide responsive programs
  2. To provide quality service
  3. To add value by providing balance between cost and benefit
  4. To remain financially stable
  5. To be and be perceived as a valuable and essential membership benefit.

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The AIA Trust web site serves as a free risk management resource for members. It is continually updated to provide current information on AIA Trust programs—along with a wealth of risk management resources. Recently updated resources include a new white paper and new webinar. Other reports and guides as well as new product information are frequently added. Current component program information regarding grants, seminars, and other programs is available.

The Trust website has several webinars, which are very brief and can be viewed by any computer, that are of interest to members:

  • A new national healthcare webinar that helps explain the impact of new regulations on firms.
  • A webinar aimed at new starter firms, offering numerous special incentives, including a firm insurance premium credit, free accounting software, retirement plan fee waivers, & a free risk management publication.
  • An overview of all AIA Trust products and resources available on the Trust website for components, firms, and members to view.

The Trust also maintains pages on the three major social media.

AIA Trust News

In its tenth year of newsletter publication, the Trust’s electronic newsletter runs articles on risk management topics such as whether a design professional can be in absolute compliance with the law, who owns the instruments of service, project documentation, the recession’s impact on retirement, and disability coverage. Articles are organized by topic and accessible online and may be reprinted with acknowledgement of the AIA Trust.

The newsletter is published quarterly and emailed to all AIA firm owners & managers, AIA Board members, and component leadership. The newsletter is sponsored by AIA Trust program providers.

White Papers

A Sustainable Standard of Care, the Trust’s 2011 white paper topic focused on how the technological changes in architectural practice such as BIM and increased emphasis on sustainability are impacting the standard of care.

The Trust published its fourth white paper in a series of risk management resources for members on the topic: A Sustainable Standard of Care? Managing Evolving & Innovative Products, Processes & Performance Standards in Design Delivery. The white paper topic and seminar delivered at the AIA National Convention in New Orleans focused on how the technological changes in architectural practice such as BIM and increased emphasis on sustainability are impacting the standard of care. The white paper is available on the Trust’s web site.

Welfare Programs Administrator

The Trust expanded member benefits by extending the age for eligibility and for termination to the individual term life plan and added an age band to individual disability after age 65. Also now available is a simplified issue option for Term Life insurance, along with a new option for individual high limit coverage.

The Trust worked closely with its administrator, AGIA, to ensure sufficient marketing of all Trust products in 2011, especially core products, such as life and disability insurance, and new product tests for a new dental, cancer, and hospital insurance programs, and for travel assistance.

New Healthcare Insurance Terminated

What started as a great idea in 2010, did not pan out. The Trust finalized an agreement with a new healthcare provider, Trustmark, to offer the first health insurance program in five years to AIA members. The ‘test’ area included all 29 states where Trustmark health insurance was offered. The program was limited to these states and employer groups of two or more. Unfortunately, the program did not prove to be competitive in terms of price/benefit and with lack of member interest, it was terminated after 15 months. While the Trust remains vigilant on identifying potential healthcare insurance for members, it is highly unlikely a program will be possible in the near term due to the small average size of firms which insurers see as too small to sufficiently spread the risk.

Professional Liability Insurance Program

The Trust met jointly with the AIA Risk Management Committee (RMC) to interview other liability insurers for a potential multi-provider program. The concept of a Risk Management Partners (RMP) program was explored, based on the following principles:

  • The AIA should look to broadly engage the professional liability insurance industry and thereby share with members information useful to making their own insurance decisions;
  • The program should, to the extent possible, create benefit for all members, not just those who purchase professional liability insurance from the program; and
  • Revenue opportunity for the Institute should be maximized.

The program was not able to be developed in 2011. Since the AIA Commendation of the CNA/Schinnerer Professional Liability Insurance Program will terminate at the end of 2011, the Trust is investigating opportunities to present a reputable program to members and to offer more information about professional liability insurance decisions to AIA members.

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To promote benefits for members, the AIA Trust works in partnership with many AIA programs. The Trust also helps sponsor events while acquainting members with vital Trust benefits. Some 2010 collaborative ventures include:

The 2011 Component Grants Program saw an increased number of applicants and yielded five grant winners
  • The twelfth year of the AIA Trust-CNA/Schinnerer Component Grants program awarded another $15,000 to AIA Components bringing the total grant awards to $200,000! The 2011 program saw an increased number of applicants and yielded five grant winners: AIA San Francisco, AIA Portland, AIA Kansas, AIA Ohio Valley, and AIA Georgia that were recognized during the AIA National Convention in New Orleans.
  • The AIAS/AIA Trust Scholarship Program established in 2007 to assist financially-challenged students with their education was not conducted last year but resumed in 2011. AIAS submits an annual report to the AIA Trust.
  • At Grassroots 2011, the AIA Trust in conjunction with CNA/Schinnerer helped sponsor the Grassroots general session and keynote speaker, attended by all participants.
  • The AIA Trust with CNA Schinnerer helped to sponsor the Richard Upjohn Convention Reception. The Trust also sponsors the AIA New Board Reception.
  • At the CACE Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, the AIA Trust along with CNA Schinnerer sponsored the closing banquet and provided information to the attendees about the Commended professional liability insurance program and all Trust programs.
  • The Trust continued to provide helpful risk management articles for the Young Architect’s Forum email newsletter, the YAF Connection, emailed to more than 10,000 young member architects. Recent articles included Emerging Issues in Professional Practice & an excerpt from ‘Starting Your Own Firm’ booklet.
  • The Trust was a lunch sponsor at the “Big Sibs” large component meeting of CACE Execs & component presidents in NYC in October, making a 10 minute presentation about available Trust benefits and resources.
  • In conjunction with AIA Membership, the AIA Trust is continuing to offer a guaranteed issue $15,000 life insurance policy to all new architect members with premiums paid for the first full year.
  • The Trust continues to offer a benefit for first-time AIA members of a free, six-month subscription to LegaLine, the legal information service designed by and for architects.
  • At the AIA National Convention in Miami, the Trust exhibit offered members a new ‘flash’ or jump drive, filled with useful risk management data including the latest white paper—as well as free space! In keeping with the New Orleans theme, the Trust offered members free fortune-telling; in addition, important program information, and other free gifts were offered with program reps on hand to answer questions.
  • The AIA Trust continues to meet with the AIA Risk Management Committee to discuss collaborative educational efforts and Commended Professional Liability Insurance program issues.
  • The Trust developed a new banner ad about the AIA Trust as a free risk management member resource, and ran four months on with click-thru to an introductory landing page on AIA Trust website.

AIA Trust CES Seminars and Self-Assessment Tests

In addition to the Convention seminar on the changing standard of care, the AIA Trust LegaLine offered seminars to several components: AIA Charleston, AIA Puerto Rico and AIA Kentucky, providing approximately 120 AIA members with continuing education credits. The AIA Trust CES program began in 1995, with 25 AIA Trust Self-Assessment Tests (SATs) on the Trust’s website, each providing one Learning Unit (LU).

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The AIA Commended Professional Liability Insurance Program

Since 1999, the Trustees have managed the business, financial, and marketing aspects of the commended program with CNA/Schinnerer. The AIA Commendation of the CNA/Schinnerer Professional Liability Insurance Program terminated at the end of 2011. Now the AIA Trust is pursuing a potential partnership with Schinnerer to promote their program to AIA members while also working to develop a valuable information service about professional liability insurance for members.

Life Insurance

New York Life underwrites both the Trust life insurance programs for firms and individuals offered by an extremely reputable company. The 10-year and 20-year level term life programs are competitively priced, offering steady fixed premiums. The firm plan is a valuable employee benefit. Thousands of AIA members have converted their free one-year policies to paid policies with the Trust.

Disability Coverage

Disability coverage is available as individual plans from New York Life and now as employee plans with a highly competitive firm disability plan offered by UNUM. The Trust is working to increase member understanding about the importance of disability coverage to all members in protecting home and business needs.

Retirement Plan

Administered by AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company, the AIA Members Retirement Program maintains strong participation. The Trust has successfully worked with the program to offer the large plan product with a tiered, lowered fee structure, broaden the investment opportunities, and improve participant investment information with fund fact sheets including Morningstar and risk data. The Trust extended its agreement with AXA Equitable for one year, requesting completion of web site improvements and 3rd party review and enhancements of investment offerings.

Personal Insurance

Through the AIA Trust, Liberty Mutual offers personal lines coverage which includes automobile, homeowners, tenant, umbrella, as well as home office coverage to AIA members at significantly discounted premiums. As the exclusive provider of these programs, Liberty has significantly increased their marketing and enrollment of AIA members.

The LifeLock program for identify theft protection offered to AIA members at a 30% discount was terminated this year for lack of sufficient participation.

Business Owners Protection Program

Business coverage is an important program offering necessary insurance coverage for AIA firms as well as for AIA Component offices.

Provided by CNA/Schinnerer, business coverage is an important and diverse program offering necessary insurance coverage for AIA firms as well as for AIA Component offices in the areas of general liability and property, with options to add coverage for business auto, valuable documents, workers compensation, umbrella, and employment practices liability.


A legal information service offered by Charles F. Heuer, FAIA, Esq. is aimed at small firms to help members negotiate and interpret contracts, determine whether they need to hire a lawyer, resolve or mitigate disputes, and help them manage risks and prevent lawsuits. AIA Component subscriptions are available to offer as a local member benefit and a 6-month free subscription is offered to first-time members. LegaLine is suspending their Trust-sponsored CES seminars for components on risk management topics due to lack of resulting sales.

Health-Related Insurance

As noted earlier, the AIA Trust terminated its new employee healthcare insurance with Trustmark after 15 months due to a lack of program competitiveness and participation.

The Trust continues to offer members access to a network of highly-rated insurance companies through that provide independent medical coverage for AIA members individually, for small firm groups and families, and for component offices.

In the area of healthcare coverage, the Trust also now offers insurance for Dental, Cancer, Hospital Income, Long Term Care, and Medicare Supplement.

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  1. Work with the AIA to make the professional liability program more beneficial to members. The AIA Trustees and independent consultants, working in conjunction with the AIA Risk Management Committee and AIA Management, will continue to explore how to make the current and future professional liability program more useful to members.
    • The AIA Trust is very interested in exploring the development of a professional liability insurer resource for members, possibly in the form of an online database for AIA member use. The Trust plans to develop an outline and proposal to address numerous issues such as criteria for selecting insurance and how to shop for it, how to determine which insurers are included, evaluating data to be included, and possibly involving broker/networks.
    • The Trust will consider the potential for a ‘Risk Management Partners’ (RMP) program to work with and offer members a variety of insurers and useful liability insurance information. The proposed RMP Program is based on the principle of broadly engaging the professional liability insurance industry to share with members information useful to making their own insurance decisions and creating benefit for all members while maximizing revenue opportunities for the AIA.
  2. Emphasize value: Working with outside expert-consultants, the Trust will evaluate marketplace opportunities and the current Trust providers in terms of their responsiveness to member needs to ensure the best programs available are offered to AIA Members and Components.
    • The AIA Trust continues to explore opportunities to improve benefits and offer additional programs of value to AIA Members and Components. In 2012, the Trust will continue to test new programs and benefits, monitor results, update website information, add tools to help members and their firms, and add new programs of value.
    • In 2012, the AIA Trust will offer Members another white paper and convention seminar on the cutting-edge topic of the fiduciary duty of architects.
    • In 2012, the AIA Trust will offer Members another white paper and convention seminar on the cutting-edge topic of the fiduciary duty of architects. The Trust will also develop another white paper and seminar proposal for 2013 regarding ethics issues. In 2012, the Trust will also sponsor in conjunction with its consultants an AIA Trustee Reunion Dinner to honor the service of its past and current Trustees.
  3. Emphasize Member Service: Working with AGIA Insurance Services, CNA/Schinnerer, AXA/Equitable, LegaLine, and Liberty Mutual, the Trust in its role as member advocate will continue to provide high quality service to Members.
    • In 2012, the Trust will re-evaluate the AXA Equitable Members Retirement Program to ensure service standards are being met. In addition, they will explore the future of the LegaLine Program with its creator, Chuck Heuer, to see how the program could have wider impact. The Trust will also establish an evaluation for the administrator for the welfare programs that began in 2009, for which the contract is expiring 12/31/2013.
    • The AIA Trust continues to work with program providers to ensure the best possible programs and service are provided to members. The Trust will continue to send quarterly short-form electronic surveys to participants about specific Trust programs to elicit feedback on member services; however, response has been low.
    • The Trust will continue to develop new risk management resources on its website of benefit to AIA members and components. The Trust is committed to working with AIA Components on educating members about Trust program benefits as well as offering meaningful and needed benefits to AIA Component staff whenever possible.

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The AIA Trust News | Annual Report 2011
Published by The AIA Trust, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20006