#Employers that offer #PetInsurance

Employers that offer pet insurance

Employers that offer pet insurance
Photo by U.S. Army flickr
More and more employers are adding pet insurance as part of employee benefits, and pet owners have Millennials to thank. According to Fortune the extra boost in coverage is partly because it appeals to the Millennial generation, but everyone will benefit from this way of thinking. With pets being treated more like family members, employers could have a lot to gain from offering pet insurance to employees.

According to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPA), pet owners spent approximately $9.8 billion on veterinary care in 2007. In 2015-2016 APPA’s biennial National Pet Owners Survey that recorded 79.7 million pet owning households, this is a 50 percent gain over the past two decades. They also reported an increase in new/younger pet owners. It’s no surprise that pet insurance is becoming more popular. Diagnosing and treating an illness can be expensive. Accidents are especially expensive, and situations like a hit by car or a blocked cat can cost well over $1000. As the cost of treatment increases, so does the demand for insurance coverage.

That being said, insured pets are still far and few between in the US. Nationwide Insurance (Veterinary Pet Insurance; VPI) reports that only 2% of Americans insure their fur-family. This is a small number if you compare this to 23% of pet owners in the UK that have pet insurance, and 30% in Sweden.

Nationwide reports that 1 in 3 Fortune 500 companies now offer their employees pet insurance, not only as a way to appeal to new hires but also to keep their current staff happy. This is a way to offer coverage to the entire family- no one is left out. According to Nationwide this has boosted growth in the pet insurance industry in the US to more than 15%.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, Hewlett-Packard, Levi Strauss & Co., Microsoft, T-Mobile, Xerox, Adidas and Yahoo! all offer VPI (Nationwide Insurance) to their employees. Del Monte, MGM Grand Nevada, Comcast Corp., Home Depot, the Walt Disney Co. and Sprint are also offering pet insurance as part of their employee benefits. Company pet insurance is not always automatically included in the benefits package; employees are able to opt in if they choose. But according to VPI less than 5% of employees actually sign up for the pet insurance offered by their employers. In many cases the pet insurance costs the employer nothing, as the employee pays for the entire monthly fee.

There are some important differences between group insurance; purchased as part of a benefits package, and individual insurance. With group insurance you are likely to pay a lower monthly fee, but the risk of fee being raised is greater because the cost is based on the entire group. Individual insurance may cost more, but a hike in your monthly fee is usually based on your pet’s medical history. With individual insurance you can tailor your plan and policy to fit your pet, lifestyle and expectations of the coverage. With the group insurance you get the plan that has been selected for the group, and do not get to determine the plan terms and policy.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reported that in 2012 36.5% of households owned a canine companion, and 30.4% owned a feline friend. Those numbers have likely gone up since then. Pets are a part of the family. Shouldn’t they be insured like the rest of the family?

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