Recent Graduates: Discover the Trust

The AVMA Trust...more than Professional Liability 

Chances are that in your dreams of attending veterinary school and becoming a veterinarian you didn’t fantasize about the myriad professional risks and insurance policies. 

And that’s okay because just as you are dedicated to your calling, the AVMA Trust is committed to serving AVMA members and the veterinary profession. You might know the AVMA Trust for the student liability insurance you had during school, but the AVMA Trust is designed by veterinarians for veterinarians to offer comprehensive insurance coverage and risk-mitigation resources for veterinarians at every stage of their careers – including recent graduates. 

We invite you to take a few minutes today to discover the Trust. Throughout 2021, we’ll reach out and encourage you to learn even more about the value the Trust adds to your AVMA membership, to vet your individual policies, and to discover new ways to mitigate your risk and ensure you’re properly set up for the long, exciting road ahead. 

Discover the Trust 

Your veterinary degree is one of your most valuable assets. It enables you not only to fulfill your dreams but also to serve the greater good. That’s why the AVMA Trust offers an array of coverages to protect your livelihood as well as coverages for risks outside your day-to-day work as a veterinarian. Like the professional liability coverage you had as a student, all coverages are vetted by veterinary professionals. 

Protect Your Career 

  • Professional Liability. Also known as malpractice insurance, this coverage responds when you are accused of veterinary malpractice. Even if a claim of malpractice is unfounded, the cost of defending yourself and your business can be devastating. 
  • Veterinary License Defense. This coverage offers protection against complaints on your veterinary license, including frivolous accusations that could cost you time and thousands of dollars to defend. It can offset the cost of legal fees to protect your ability to practice. 

Protect Your Property and Paycheck 

  • Personal Insurance. Turn to the AVMA Trust for the same level of personalized service on all your personal insurance needs, including auto, renter’s, and homeowner’s coverage. 
  • Group Disability Insurance.1 If a covered accident or illness keeps you from working, this coverage provides a cash benefit to help with everyday living expenses. Short- and long-term disability coverage is available. 
  • Member Basic Protection Package.1 As a supplement to your long-term disability coverage, this package includes the essential coverages necessary to protect you as a veterinarian, including rabies prophylaxis. 
  • Group Student Loan Disability.1 If you become disabled from a covered accident or illness, this coverage can help cover your student loans while you recover…so your career and financial goals can stay on track. 

Protect Your Future – and Theirs 

  • Group Life Insurance.1 Could your family maintain their quality of life if your life was lost? Provide protection for your loved ones for a potential day when you can’t be there to support them. 
  • Association Retirement Plan.2 The AVMA Trust plan was designed with the unique needs of the profession in mind – and it’s not just for practice owners and their teams. It is a great choice for self-employed veterinarians or independent contractors (mobile or relief vets) who want to participate in a 401(k). 

Protect Your Health and Wellbeing 

  • Group Hospital Indemnity Insurance.1 Traditional health insurance rarely covers all the expenses of an accident or illness – especially if hospitalization is involved. Help fill in the gaps with this coverage.
  • Group Critical Illness Insurance.1 In the event of a health emergency, a cash benefit paid directly to you for qualifying conditions can help lessen the financial burden of a serious illness by helping cover medical bills, deductibles, or even day-to-day expenses. 
  • Dental and Vision. Take advantage of competitive rates on coverage through Delta Dental of Illinois.

Vetted by Professionals 

Partnering with the AVMA Trust to protect your veterinary business isn’t like dealing with local insurance agents or large carriers. Our program is vetted by professionals – professionals who understand the challenges and rewards of being a veterinarian because they are veterinarians. 

The Trust Veterinarians have many years of practice experience and they put that experience to work for you by: 
  • Speaking directly with veterinarians who call the Trust 
  • Reviewing every reported professional liability claim 
  • Referring the insurance carriers to qualified veterinary experts to assist in defense 
  • Providing professional guidance to the insurance carriers and their attorneys 
  • Attending veterinary conventions and association meetings to remain at the peak of their profession
  • Visiting colleges and schools of veterinary medicine to educate students on veterinary insurance
  • Providing educational content for an array of state and national publications 
We know you won’t find a comparable resource through other insurance providers. It’s why we invite you to meet the Trust Veterinarians: 

Dr. Linda Ellis 

It seems Dr. Ellis has always been devoted to the care of animals and the veterinary profession. By age 8 she knew her destiny – and didn’t waste time with a back-up plan. Summers at her grandparents’ thoroughbred farm introduced her to veterinary care, and it was around that time her dad nicknamed her Bird. 

As director of Trust veterinarians, Dr. Ellis is here for you. She speaks directly with AVMA members if they have an adverse event during treatment or need guidance with claims. She also dedicates her time to educating AVMA members and veterinary students on risk management and claims avoidance through presentations at veterinary schools, veterinary meetings and Trust newsletters. 

When you speak with Dr. Ellis, be sure to ask about Lily and Olive, her two Labradors (she’s had Labradors for more than 30 years), and Pikachu and Starly, her Cockatiels.
Dr. Ellis’s Advice for Recent Graduates 
"Make sure to protect yourself before you start practice. Be sure you have both veterinary Professional Liability (PL) and License Defense (VLD) coverage. You also need health and disability coverage and should have life insurance. Negotiate this coverage as a benefit with your employer. If the practice says you are covered by the practice for PL, ask to see a Certificate of Insurance and ask if you have VLD. Reach out to me if you have questions! You should consider getting your own individual PL and VLD if you will be working outside of that practice. And...keep good medical records!” 

Dr. Nina Moledous 

Always surrounded by animals as a child – dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, ducks, cows, horses and a pig – Dr. Moledous has lived a life devoted to animals. After being encouraged into Animal Sciences and Pre-Veterinary School by her brother and a friend, she was the owner and sole practitioner of a mobile clinic that specialized in thoroughbred care. 

As a Trust veterinarian, Dr. Moledous reviews malpractice complaints and serves as a sounding board for AVMA members on various topics from client management to recommended insurance coverages. 

Whether you’re looking for advice on a malpractice claim or merely looking to connect with a fellow veterinarian, connect with Dr. Moledous and you might also hear the latest adventures of Guinness the yellow Labrador, Molly the red Dachshund or Beethoven the Quarter Horse Cross Hunter/Jumper pony.

Dr. Moledous’ Advice for Recent Graduates 
“Identify your ethical values, and practice by those values. Read your oath often and your state practice act regularly. Having good communication skills and using them will result in a more pleasant practice environment. Practice by the Golden Rule: treat your clients, co-workers and colleagues the way you would like to be treated. And when life and practice situations don’t go the way you planned, acknowledge it, correct it if you can, and move on. Those situations will pass, and tomorrow is a new day.” 

Dr. Rebecca Stinson 

For Dr. Stinson, it’s easy to describe the best part of being a DVM. Simply put – it’s the grateful hugs, the warm nuzzles and the slobbery kisses (from the patients) as well as the feeling when someone thanks you for helping them through the last days of a pet’s life. 

Dr. Stinson primarily serves the veterinary student members in all SAVMA chapters in the country and beyond. She partners directly with the student ambassador team to provide educational opportunities and fun contests to help future veterinarians understand the role and value of the AVMA Trust. 

Whether you’re currently a student, mentoring a student or just want to reach out to learn more about Dr. Stinson’s role, be sure to ask her about her farm and her domestic long haired calico named Cleo, a black mixed breed dog named Thea and a Oldenburg-Trachener cross named Reno, who is 17.2 hands tall (that’s 5’10” at the withers for the non-horse people).  

Dr. Stinson’s Advice for Recent Graduates 
“Welcome to a truly great profession. Remember that you have an entire team of people on your side at AVMA and the AVMA Trust. We are here to help you as you move forward down this great road. If you’re not sure what is next, don’t worry – many of us have wandered off the straight and narrow path and found some great sites along the way. Enjoy the journey!!” 

Dr. Cynthia MacKenzie 

Not surprisingly, Dr. MacKenzie’s journey to veterinarian started with her love of all animals. But it’s her devotion to horses that helps define her positive work. Prior to joining the AVMA Trust, she co-founded the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief campaign to provide vaccines to qualifying equine rescues. 

As a Trust veterinarian, she’s a dedicated advocate to AVMA members during claims processes and is devoted to creating educational resources and presentations to further the profession. It’s that support that allows members to focus more on what Dr. MacKenzie believes is the best part of being a veterinarian: supporting the human-animal bond by helping improve the lives of animals and the people that love them. 

Oh, and when you connect with Dr. MacKenzie, be sure to ask her for a photo of Lily, her “very spoiled and rotten” yellow Labrador Retriever. 

Dr. MacKenzie’s Advice for Recent Graduates 
“Get involved in organized veterinary medicine and/or participate in a local, state, or national veterinary group. The experience, networking, and leadership development that is gained through these activities is truly priceless and will help you as you go through your career.” 

Dr. Jennifer Frey 

When other junior high students were navigating the perils of adolescence, Dr. Frey was already charting her life’s journey. It was in the seventh grade – based on her love of animals and strong interest in math and science – that she decided veterinary medicine was for her. 

As a Trust veterinarian, Dr. Frey is a resource to all members. She loves providing not only resources but also comfort to veterinarians that may be dealing with a claim, difficult clients or the loss of a patient. Dr. Frey was mostly involved with small animal medicine for 20 years (primarily dogs and cats with occasional exotic animals like ferrets, rabbits and birds). 

Today, she’s caring for her own pets Lexie (Shih Tzu mix) and Cosmo (domestic short-haired cat). 

Dr. Frey’s Advice for Recent Graduates 
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! When interviewing at practices, pick the one that is likely to provide the best mentorship.” 

Dr. Kara Escutia 

The coloring exercise in the first grade was a standard classroom activity. But for Dr. Escutia it was a declaration. No, it didn’t say she wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up; It said “I will be.” It was the anticipation she felt as a child taking her family pets to the veterinarian that helped drive her professional goals. 

Now, as a Trust Veterinarian, she reviews professional liability claims and provides support and advocacy for colleagues. She also provides guidance to brokers and carriers on veterinary topics and presents educational programs to veterinary students and teams. 

Dr. Escutia lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband and two young children. Together they have a staffordshire terrier mix named Turtle and two cats: Bagel and Tobby. 

Dr. Escutia’s Advice for Recent Graduates 
“Many new grads report having imposter syndrome. It’s not true! You have the knowledge and skills to be where you are, it’s just a matter of building confidence.” 

Member Focused 

Part of the mission of the AVMA is to lead the profession by advocating for its members; its goal is to increase member value and satisfaction. To that end, the AVMA Trust is steadfast in its member focus through all insurance protections, risk-mitigation resources, and educational outreach. 

The AVMA Trust prides itself on supporting AVMA members, and this commitment resonates throughout the profession: 

"It's the best coverage I've found. I've kept it for over 30 years."
 — Dr. Richard L. Runyon, Eastridge Animal Center 

"In addition to convenience, I was pleasantly surprised to find promptness, efficiency, responsiveness, and really friendly and courteous agents.” 
 — Dr. Therese Lee, Wagon Tails Animal Clinic LLC

1 Group insurance underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company (NY, NY 10010) on policy form GMR.
2 The AVMA Trust Association Retirement Plan is offered through Transamerica, in partnership with TAG Resources and Envestnet Retirement Solutions.