Filed Under:Markets, E&S/Specialty

Broker Rolls Back Workers' Comp Advice for Relief Veterinarians

Critics say many relief veterinarians are independent contractors, not employees.

They aren’t saying they goofed, but the insurance broker for the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Professional Liability Insurance Trust (AVMA PLIT) plans to “clarify” advice that came out in 2009, stating that relief veterinarians needed workers' compensation insurance even though most are independent contractors.

Relief veterinarians are hired to work weekends, holidays and other periods when a member of a veterinary practice or animal hospital cannot be present. The statement by the PLIT's longtime broker Hub International Midwest, Ltd., that relief veterinarians should be covered by workers' compensation insurance created confusion among practitioners. Critics of the advice argued that it ran contrary to the distinction and tax status of many relief veterinarians as independent contractors, in addition to forcing the practice owners hiring them to pay increased insurance premiums.

States Set the Guidelines

Ahlert said the 2009 article in the AVMA Business Insurance Update titled “Questions and Answers — Relief Veterinarians,” was intended to bring clarity to the independent contractor issue but ended up muddying the question all the more. He said there is no “black and white answer” to independent contractor status question; each state has its own guidelines.

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