Reports & Reference Guides on Current Topics

In its role as a risk management resource for members, the AIA Trust works with a wide variety of important participants in the risk management arena—ranging from the AIA Risk Management Committee and allied organizations such as NSPE, to brokers and administrators such as Schinnerer and AGIA. Sometimes, the result of these working relationships is reports on vital topics of interest to AIA Members—ranging from the annual survey of the professional liability insurance industry to developments in health insurance and guidelines on setting up a new practice.

For an overview of the various risk management tools that the AIA Trust offers members, click here. See below for reports on topics of interest—and check back frequently for new ones being added.

Annual Survey of the Professional Liability Insurance Industry

Each year the AIA Risk Management Committee, with its NSPE and ACEC counterparts and with input from the AIA Trust, surveys the professional liability insurance industry to identify trends and offerings, and share insights about members' needs. The AIA Commended Professional Liability Insurance Program offered by Victor O. Schinnerer (VOSCO) and CNA still checks out as the best. Click here to access the actual survey results.

When Applying for Professional Liability Insurance

When your application form is received by your insurance company, underwriters and actuaries look at a number of factors to assess your firm’s potential risk, including your firm's size, billings, location, clients, services provided, and project types. A study was conducted in 2011 to determine other important factors to which underwriters can look when assessing a firm's potential risk—such as: continuing education within a firm, business practices, and professional licensure. A summary of the detailed findings of this study conducted by Victor O. Schinnerer & Company is provided to you through the AIA Trust because you are an AIA member. The goal of this summary report is to provide you with key information that allows you to present your firm in the best possible light when applying for professional liability insurance. Click here for the report.

CNA/Schinnerer Claims Studies

A 2009 Small Firm Claims Study indicates that most claims made against small firms derive from either delays and extras or property damage; read the report for case study examples—and how to avoid them. In addition, Anatomy of a Large Architectural Claim explores how Schinnerer’s risk management matrix can offer a systematic approach to analyzing and assessing risks—to help you reduce risks on new projects. Also, read how the risks of residential design continue to rise as the Residential Claims Study indicates—and how you can better manage these risks.

Health Care Trend Data

Aon Consulting looks at the impact of health reform and how this legislation will impact employers. They offer a summary chart on the application of insurance market reforms and the effect on various plans. There is a great deal of controversy over key provisions in the legislation; for more information, visit the Trust’s Healthcare Coverage page.

Making the Transition to Running Your Own Firm

Insurance Coverage Issues for Professional Practices—A report developed by the Victor O. Schinnerer and the CNA companies in conjunction with AIA Trust to assist licensed design professionals in operating a professional practice which presents so many risks. Click here for solutions for managing those risks by transferring them appropriately.

Retirement Planning Guides

The booklet, Keys to Planning a Happy Retirement, provides worksheets for you to calculate your own personal retirement plan. To work through these planning tools and calculate your own personal retirement needs, click here. A Guide to Financial Planning is aimed at helping you determine your financial planning needs, with suggested timelines, asset allocation, retirement products and various types of insurance to consider; click here for the booklet.

Small Firm Programs

The summary, What Does AIA Trust Offer Small Firms? covers the AIA Trust programs aimed at the small firm—to help provide for the negotiating power of a large firm. Find out what benefit programs are best suited for small firms and sole proprietors (PDF download). The AIA Trust has also compiled a summary of both Trust and AIA resources to assist the small and new firm practitioner; click here for the resource summary. Also, find out how a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) may be able to help your firm outsource cost-effectively the management of payroll, workers' compensation, human resources and employee benefits—to allow you to lower expenses and increase profits by focusing on your core business of architecture. Click here for more information.

Helping to Manage Your Risks

Dramatic changes occurring in the economy today are affecting AIA member firms. A recent survey conducted among Design Professionals identified several key components including: changes in revenue, project types, and insurance decisions driven by economics – including changing insurance carriers. The key findings:

  • 53%: Revenue dropped between 10% to 50% in the past 12 months.
  • 44%: Economic conditions played a substantial part in Professional Liability Insurance decisions.
  • 18%: Changed carriers. Reasons: 1) lower premium 2) pre-claims assistance 3) risk management services.
  • 48%: Have had a claim in the past five years.
  • Architects accounted for 46% of claims while engineers accounted for 31% of claims.
  • Firms with reduced revenues accounted for 76% of claims.

Firms are taking on more risk and providing services for projects in which their firm may not be adequately experienced. Click here for a Project Intake Checklist form to help you & your firm evaluate and manage potential risk. It is the perfect time to evaluate your firm’s risk management needs.

The AIA Risk Management Committee (RMC)

The RMC, in conjunction with the AIA Trust, endeavors to make risk management strategies available to AIA members so that they may control the risks inherent in their practice while reducing insurance and associated costs. For information that may help you manage your own risks, visit the AIA Risk Management Committee web page.