Pet insurance as an employee benefit: an introduction

Pet insurance continues to grow in popularity among employers. It’s this simple: people adore their pets, and the cost of caring for seriously ill pets can soar, depending upon the ailment or condition. Given the unwavering affection for pets and the unavoidable costs of medical treatment, it’s not a surprise that some companies are beginning to offer pet insurance as an alternative employee benefit. For starters, pet insurance is now widely available, with Nationwide and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (via the United States Fire Insurance Company) among those offering policies. The ASPCA even has a quick, simple quote generator for coverage of cats and dogs.

Secondly, the cost to treat pet illness and injury can be no small expense, which makes coverage a logical option as an expense-reducing mechanism. As Consumer Reports notes, a knee injury to a pet can cost $3,300 to fix, with cancer costs regularly reaching at least $5,000. Even more common-but-dangerous ailments, such as parasites, can be costly to treat. According to research conducted by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. in 2012, the average cost to treat heartworm, tape worm and Lyme disease was about $180.

Finally, there appears to be a real demand for pet insurance. According to Employee Benefit Adviser, nine percent of companies offer pet coverage, per the Society for Human Resource Management. What’s more, about one of every three Fortune 500 companies offers this benefit.

As Employee Benefit Adviser notes, U.S. veterinary care cost more than $15 billion in 2015, per a Harris poll estimate. As with student loan and credit card debt, pet expenses are very much a household reality for many Americans. With this in mind, pet insurance figures to be an employee benefit on the radar of more and more companies.

For additional information on pet insurance, as well as any other employee benefits matters affecting your employees, contact a Plexus client service team member at 847-307-6100 (Deer Park), 312-606-4800 (Chicago), 972-770-5010 (Dallas) or 405-840-3033 (Oklahoma City). You can also contact us via the Web.