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Pet Insurance Gaining Popularity in the U.S.

Posted September 25, 2015 in A Vet's Life

Flipping through the September 1st edition of Time Magazine, I came across a full-page ad featuring an attractive, 20 to 30 year old, blond haired woman planting a kiss on the jowl of a lovely looking Bernese Mountain Dog. The caption accompanying the photo read, “In the Nation, what’s precious to you is precious to us.” The advertiser was Nationwide pet insurance.

This ad surprised me on several levels. To begin with, I’d never heard of Nationwide pet health insurance. So, I called the number in the ad and was greeted with, “Thank you for calling Nationwide, formerly Veterinary Pet Insurance.” Ah, so this made sense. Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) has been around for as long as I can remember. Apparently, Nationwide has been their underwriter for some time now, but the official name change from VPI to Nationwide occurred just a few weeks ago.

Perhaps the bigger surprise for me was finding a pet product ad of any sort in Time, and within the first dozen pages of the magazine, no less. I’ve been a reader of Time for years, and never before have I seen an ad even remotely related to pets. Nationwide must have spent a pretty penny for their full-page advertisement, suggesting that they must believe there’s big money to be made in the pet health insurance business.

The current state of pet health insurance
It appears that the pet insurance industry is rapidly and rather dramatically evolving. The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) confirms this. NAPHIA represents more than 20 different pet insurance brands currently marketed across the United States and Canada. According to their research, the pet health insurance industry is achieving record growth. Total North American premiums in 2014 hit $660.5 million with 1.4 million pets insured. This represents a 12.8 percent hike in premiums and a 10.6 percent increase in the number of pets insured compared to 2013. Dennis Rushovich, president of NAPHIA believes that, thanks to the human/animal bond, pet health insurance is increasingly becoming an integral part of responsible pet ownership. He stated on naphia.org, “Pets have moved from the barnyard to the backyard to the bedroom. As a result, this industry’s growth continues to outpace most other insurance categories.”

What’s your take on pet health insurance?
Have you contemplated health insurance for your pets? Deciding whether to purchase a policy is confusing enough;

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Nancy has more than 30 years of experience in the veterinary industry and is a board-certified veterinary specialist in internal medicine as well as a valued member of IDEXX’s Pet Health Network team since 2014.

Opinions expressed are those of the writer:

The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of all veterinarians, Pet Health Network, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.