Skip to main content

The Company You Keep


My colleague Laura Allen posted an update on the latest happenings surrounding IMA. In her post she references correspondence ABMP developed in an effort to answer the many calls we were getting from former IMA members about information they had received.

FYI, here’s our letter we developed to share with former IMA members:

Dear former IMA member,

You recently received a communication from Marilyn Allen on behalf of the American Massage Council (AMC) regarding your previous IMA liability insurance coverage. You also have heard from Will Green trying to explain his insurance activities at both IMA and now NAMT.

It’s easy to get confused about who or what to believe. It’s scary to contemplate not having liability insurance when you paid for it and expect it to be there for you.

Our team at Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals (ABMP) obviously has a self-interest in building our membership—and we have steadily done so on the way to becoming the largest massage membership association in the field with now 73,000 active members. We also have an interest in members of the entire profession having accurate information upon which to base affiliation decisions, so we checked out some of the claims being thrown around.

Here is what we learned. IMA, prior to February 2008, worked (through an insurance broker) with several different insurance companies. While questions have been raised and an indictment apparently issued against one involved individual, we simply do not know all the facts about those insurance relationships.

Starting February 1, 2008, IMA member liability insurance was underwritten by a subsidiary company of Markel, a well regarded and A.M. Best “A” rated insurance carrier. Because of non-timely payment of insurance premiums by IMA, Markel cancelled the IMA policy on April 6, 2010. That meant that IMA was no longer able to write any more Markel liability insurance policies.

However, for IMA members who joined or renewed between February 1, 2008 and April 6, 2010, Markel is following its legal and ethical obligation to provide liability insurance coverage set forth in the policy through the time period listed on your insurance certificate. Markel is honoring this contractual obligation despite the fact that they have not been fully paid by IMA. ABMP confirmed this information with a senior Markel representative.

The correspondence from AMC is inaccurate in stating “there is no insurance policy in existence.” It’s a muddy situation, but what you don’t need at such a time is scare tactics.

ABMP Professional-level membership at $199 is a bit more expensive than was IMA or is AMC. Perhaps it’s time to consider that often “you get what you pay for.” ABMP has 45 skilled professionals supporting members with print publications, member Web sites, e-mail accounts and client marketing assistance; webinars and continuing education, legislative support, and practice building advice. We have been with the same liability insurance provider for 10 years. Our insurance is “occurrence form” coverage, not the less comprehensive “claims made” coverage that AMC provides, leaving a hole on late-filed claims.

In times like these, stability, security and support matter. As you approach your IMA/Markel policy expiration date, consider ABMP for your professional support needs. You can reach us at (800) 458-2267 or and experience outstanding service from our crackerjack membership staff. We would love to welcome you to the ABMP family.


Les Sweeney, NCTM