Walmart selling Pet Insurance

Walmart started selling pet insurance in select stores in Canada.  The policies will be underwritten by Western Financial Insurance, the company behind Petsecure.  Walmart Canada has a website where pet parents can get quotes.

This type of partnership between pet insurers and consumer brands has been around in the UK for several years, with brands such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s (grocery stores) and Virgin Money (a bank) successfully selling policies that are then handled by an established pet insurance company.

In the states, PetFirst had a similar partnership with Kroger to offer pet insurance.  However, this relationship did not work out and the companies cancelled the arrangement . . . → Read More: Walmart selling Pet Insurance

Vet Jailed for Pet Insurance Fraud

A UK vet was given a two year jail sentence for defrauding several pet insurers out of £225,000. Mathew Morgan made 54 false claims against PetPlan, Petprotect, Direct Line and Sainsburys over the course of three years.

Reports indicate that Morgan created fictitious cats and, using documentation from his vet office, filed claims with the insurers for various illnesses and injuries.  All claims were in his name and used his actual home address.

So I assume the plan worked something like this: 1) pretend you have five cats; 2) buy four insurance policies on each cat; 3)  once a year file a claim against each insurer for each fake cat; 4) create phony vet bills on your business letterhead supporting the claims; 5) collect twenty insurance checks per year; 6) repeat . . . → Read More: Vet Jailed for Pet Insurance Fraud

Petsecure TV commercial

Petsecure is airing a TV commercial in Canada promoting its pet insurance.    This is the first TV ad for pet insurance that I have seen and hope to see more in the future.

The ad is well done, although during the first few seconds I thought the narrator was talking about the boy (maybe I was supposed to think that.)  The ad successfully touches on the themes of pets as beloved family members and of pet insurance bringing peace . . . → Read More: Petsecure TV commercial

RIP PurinaCare

Purina is getting out of the pet insurance business.   Last week, Pethealth (24PetWatch) announced that they are buying the 12,000 PurinaCare policyholders (or more specifically, they are buying the right to administer the current PurinaCare policies and the right to any subsequent policy renewals.)

The main question for PurinaCare customers revolves around renewals.  When it comes time to renew, will the PurinaCare policyholder have to switch to a Pethealth policy or do they get to keep their existing policy?   This could have real effects on customers due to the different types of coverage offered by the two companies (e.g, Pethealth has per incident limits, while PurinaCare . . . → Read More: RIP PurinaCare

2 pet insurers listed on Inc 500

Demonstrating that the pet insurance market continues to grow in the down economy, two US based pet insurers were named to the 2011 Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies.

PetPlan listed 2010 revenue of $18.7 million with 40 employees. PetFirst Healthcare listed revenue of $3.3 million and 32 employees.

We are assuming that PetFirst is using its commission amount as revenue, while PetPlan is using its gross premium amount as revenue. For an apples to apples comparison, PetFirst should have about $11 million in gross premiums (using a 30% commission rate.)

If we further assume an average annual premium of $300 for each company, we would estimate that PetPlan has approximately 62,000 active policies, while PetFirst has approximately 37,000 . . . → Read More: 2 pet insurers listed on Inc 500

New Pet Insurer – PetSafe

PetSafe, the manufacturer of pet items such as wireless fences, kennels, dog doors and about a thousand other items has recently entered the US pet insurance industry. The company is based in Knoxville and is underwritten by the American Pet Insurance company (the folks behind Trupanion.) Brett Johnson, formerly of Pets Best, will be running the . . . → Read More: New Pet Insurer – PetSafe

Pethealth Inc 3rd Quarter Results

Pethealth Inc, commonly known as 24PetWatch, announced net income of $343,000 on revenue of $8.2 million for the 3rd quarter of 2010.


- they intend to acquire other pet insurance businesses in the US & the UK
- over 60% of new policy sales came from the shelter channel
- they are selling a lot of microchips; almost $2 million worth in . . . → Read More: Pethealth Inc 3rd Quarter Results

Schwarzenegger vetoes Pet Insurance Bill

Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed bill 2411 which would have required greater disclosure from pet insurance companies. Schwarzenegger stated that existing law already allows the California Department of Insurance to regulate pet insurance, so this bill was not necessary.

Looks like the ball is now in the CA Department of Insurance’s court. I would expect Assemblyman Dave Jones to continue to pursue his goal of improved disclosure.

Our take: regardless of the law, improved disclosure about the benefits and limitations of pet insurance policies is a good idea. So I will be adding more info about coverage limits, benefit schedules, pre-existing conditions and other important policy details to . . . → Read More: Schwarzenegger vetoes Pet Insurance Bill

VPI’s PR department is crazy good

Google news is showing 102 articles about Ellie, the beehive eating Lab who won the Hambone award – VPI’s contest to find the most unusual pet insurance claim.

The media cannot get enough of these pet related stories. Whether they involve kooky pet name contests, top reasons pets visit the vet on Christmas day or articles about dogs named after the SuperBowl teams, VPI has found a way to consistently keep its name in the press.

Someone at VPI deserves a bonus . . . → Read More: VPI’s PR department is crazy good

Info on California Pet Insurance Reform Bill AB2411

California Assemblymember Dave Jones (D-Sacramento) is pushing a bill that would try and make pet insurance policies more understandable to pet owners.

Specifically, the bill would require insurers to disclose whether a policy excludes coverage for: preexisting conditions, hereditary disorders and congenital disorders. It would also require disclosing details on deductibles, waiting periods and policies limits. These items would have to be displayed on an insurer’s web site.

This would be a California law, but due to the size of the California market, every US pet insurer would be expected to comply.

Seems like a pretty reasonable bill. I can’t imagine any of the pet insurance companies getting upset over these requirements.

This is much different than Assemblymember Jones previous plan to require the insurers to cover pre-existing conditions. That was a terrible idea … and he correctly changed course.

Bill . . . → Read More: Info on California Pet Insurance Reform Bill AB2411