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CVMA insurance program to offer group health coverage

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The California Veterinary Medical Association's (CVMA) Veterinary Insurance Service Company (VISC) plans to roll out individual and small-group health care coverage by April.

CVMA insurance program to offer group health coverageSacramento, Calif. - The California Veterinary Medical Association's (CVMA) Veterinary Insurance Service Company (VISC) plans to roll out individual and small-group health care coverage by April.

It's the latest offering from VISC, which opened for business Jan. 1, and is marketed as a "for-veterinarians, by veterinarians" alternative to CVMA's former broker, ABD Insurance and Financial Services. Despite losing CVMA's sponsorship, ABD still offers insurance services.

Yet In its initial month operating, VISC co-Chief Executive Officer Dr. Dick Schumacher reports 40 percent of CVMA's insured members joined, and he expects up to 60 percent in the coming months. That reaction is encouraging to leaders of the nation's first insurance program headed by a state veterinary medical association, he says.

"The response has been overwhelming," Schumacher says. "People want insurance coverage, and they want to be covered by a company that's going to take care of them."

CVMA officials decided to start an association-owned company and terminate its relationship with ABD last year, but the transition was not effective Dec. 31. The resolution to move away from ABD reportedly came with the company's failure to broker personal lines of health insurance and its move to drop earthquake, construction and equine coverage.

ABD responded by suing CVMA, alleging the group used the company's confidential documents to start its business. VISC representatives deny the allegations. The two brokers planned to mediate the legal complaint at press time.

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