The American Academy of Insurance Medicine (AAIM) is among the oldest medical specialty organizations in the United States.
Our physician members typically serve as medical directors to insurance companies. Members may serve these companies as advisors for underwriting and consultants for claims and disability management. Other roles include medical and actuarial research, underwriting guideline development, employee health education and care, and as professional liaison to the medical community, legislative bodies and regulatory agencies.
History of the American Academy of Insurance Medicine
In 1889, 34 physicians from 27 insurance companies formed the Association of Life Insurance Medical Directors of America (ALIMDA) in New York. By 1990 there were 606 medical director members from 363 insurance companies. Originally it was an organization for medical directors in the United States and Canada, but members from other countries were welcomed as the 20th century progressed.
ALIMDA addressed all professional medical interests relating to risk selection including mortality and morbidity studies, education, and professional and public relations. In 1991 the name was changed to the American Academy of Insurance Medicine (AAIM) to emphasize the educational mission and to remove 'life' from the title to reflect the organization's role in disability, health, long term care and other more recently developed types of insurance.
In the 19th century physicians conducted medical examinations to ensure that life insurance was offered only to those who seemed to be healthy. The existence of a professional organization promoted development of consistency and fairness in the risk selection process. ALIMDA also encouraged application of medico-actuarial methodology to make underwriting more scientific. By the end of the century, early life insurance research had demonstrated the mortality implications of the results of routine urinalysis for protein and sugar. This proved to be a valuable contribution to both insurance and clinical medicine.
Throughout the past century medico-actuarial studies were conducted by medical directors and actuaries within companies and with multi-company data in conjunction with actuarial associations. Notable contributions have included the Build and Blood Pressure Study published intermittently from 1925 through 1979. In the 1950s these studies were the first to show conclusively that elevated blood pressure is associated with increased mortality.
Insurance for individuals with medical impairments was made possible by a numerical rating system devised in 1919. This substandard risk rating system has since made life insurance widely available to many people with health problems.
From the beginning, educational needs of insurance medical directors have been addressed at annual meetings. Guest experts from academic medicine and from the insurance industry discuss advances in medicine and their application to the risk assessment process. In the 1960s ALIMDA also created the Board of Insurance Medicine (BIM) that has established criteria for diplomat recognition. The BIM developed an intensive and comprehensive triennial course in insurance medicine that continues today as a key educational source.
The American Academy of Insurance Medicine maintains the commitment to education and research started by ALIMDA over a century ago. It has created associate and affiliate memberships for those involved with insurance medicine who are not employed as medical directors of insurance companies.
AAIM continues to address the many professional and public relations interests of the insurance medical community, including ongoing representation in the American Medical Association.
AAIM Looks to the Future
AAIM believes that medical science, especially the science of mortality and morbidity, is the basis for the practice of insurance medicine. Insurance medicine professionals must use that science to support the insurance industry in providing fair and accurate pricing, underwriting and claims service for its customers.
AAIM believes that insurance medicine will continue to play a unique and valuable role by integrating the science of medicine with the business of insurance. We will continue to support this role to help ensure that the public receives the optimum value that insurance products can bring, along with the fair and ethical consideration that each individual deserves.
The majority of our members come from the United States and Canada. However, South and Central America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia are also represented among our members.
Membership is open to physicians who are Medical Directors of insurance companies, nurses, underwriters, medical consultants and other professionals working in insurance medicine, as well as to affiliates who have a professional interest in insurance medicine.
Funding and Sponsors
Annual membership dues, registration fees, paid advertising in the Journal of Insurance Medicine and donations by sponsors provide the funding to support our programs and services.
- Programs and Services
- Journal of Insurance Medicine
- AAIM Internet Web Site
- AAIM Annual Scientific Meeting
- Triennial Course in Insurance Medicine
- Diplomat Recognition in Insurance Medicine
- Representation in the American Medical Association House of Delegates
- Basic and Advanced Mortality Courses
AAIM and the Insurance Industry
AAIM members hold critical and influential positions within most of the major insurance companies in the United States and Canada, as well as throughout the world. AAIM provides educational and professional support that helps our members carry out their duties with state of the art medical and medico-actuarial knowledge, with awareness of the business and regulatory environment and with understanding of the ethical standards that they must model and uphold.