Excellence in advising: Bringing benefits to animal hospitals
(Cory Friedman, Managing Director, Veterinary Division, Alera Group. Photo courtesy of Alera Group)
A labor shortage, coupled with a surge of pet adoptions, has made for an unprecedented year for animal hospitals across the country: According to the American Pet Products Association, 13 million households acquired a furry friend between March and December of 2020.
“We're spending a lot of time helping our clients implement robust mental health and employee assistance programs,” says Cory Friedman, managing director of the veterinary division at the national insurance firm Alera Group. “They're busier than they've ever been, and have had to change everything they knew about working in this practice.”
Even under normal circumstances, veterinarians are subjected to extreme stress, from a high debt-to-income ratio to daily cases that end in euthanasia. According to a 2019 study by the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, male veterinarians are 2.1 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, and female veterinarians are 3.5 times more likely. That’s why, for Friedman, every practice is deserving of adviser support.
“We hear all the time from people that they didn't feel like they could have health insurance or other benefits,” Friedman says. “They were told they were too small. I come in and help them totally rethink their approach to their benefits program.” Even if this means forgoing his firm’s preferred internal benefits in favor of a third-party offering, Friedman’s priority is to find the right fit for every operation, and he has helped hospitals with fewer than 10 employees find the budget for a benefits package. “It's all about doing the right thing for our clients,” says Friedman. “We just care.”
Written by Deanna Cuadra, Associate Editor, Arizent