IN THIS REPORT . . .
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.
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.
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:
The Trust also maintains pages on the three major social media.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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 HealthInsurance.com 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.
AIA Trust News | Annual Report 2011