The History of Embrace Pet Insurance

Embrace was created by Laura Bennett and Alex Krooglik in July 2003 after they graduated from the Wharton MBA program.

Alex came up with the name “Embrace” after we surveyed female pet parents with a list of names that Laura and Alex liked. Pet parents politely but firmly told them to come up with a new name that reflects the emotional bond between a pet parent and her pet. When they resurveyed the group, this time including the name Embrace, they had an obvious winner on their hands.

Laura and Alex spent several challenging years establishing Embrace. With a number of “one step forward, two steps back” experiences that often led them to wonder if they would ever get Embrace up and running, they persevered and laid the groundwork for Embrace today.

Here are some of the highlights of their journey.

May 2003 Laura and Alex were part of the pet insurance team that won the Wharton Business Plan Competition, beating out technology and biotechnology companies.
Jul 2003 –
Aug 2004
Alex and Laura created Embrace Pet Insurance and spent the next year writing the business plan, designing and pricing their new product, and making the rounds to find insurance and funding partners. The realities of a hard market hit home as they were turned down or ignored for the most part.
Sept 2004 Jumpstart, a non-profit venture development fund based in Cleveland, picked Embrace as one of three companies out of 150 companies that applied for their inaugural round of funding.
Apr 2005 Laura launches the Embrace Pet Insurance blog, the first blog worldwide on pet insurance.
Oct 2005 Embrace signs a letter of intent with two Lloyd’s of London syndicates to underwrite the Embrace program.
Jan 2006 Laura has second baby, Erin, while working on the actuarial report for the proposed Embrace product - literally!
Oct 2006 Embrace sells its first policy on October 10, 2006, that covered Laura’s newly adopted cat, Lily.
Mar 2007 Embrace's groundbreaking ecommerce website went live at the end of the month. The biggest impact was to demonstrate Embrace's upfront and open culture – something not seen very much in financial services.
Sept 2007 Embrace enters into a strategic partnership with Progressive Insurance.
Jan 2008 Embrace partners with Best Friends Animal Society to promote Embrace to the Best Friends members and adopters.
Oct 2008 Embrace received its first round of venture funding from NCT Ventures.
Jul 2009 Continuing the tradition of breaking new ground online, Embrace launches its new website expanding its coverage of breed-related pet health issues.
Nov 2009 Through the work of the Tsunami Animal-People Alliance, Embrace uses their relationships with vet clinics across the US to help collect suture material to help the people & pets of Sri Lanka.
Jan 2010 NAPHIA, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, names Laura the new Chairperson of their Board of Directors.
May 2010 Continuing our vet out-reach, Embrace collects suture materials, hypodermic needles, syringes, and more to help Amazon Cares, a foundation that supports the stray animals of Peru.
Aug 2010 Embrace partners with RLI Corporation, an AM Best A+ rated insurance carrier (as of June 12, 2012) who is also one of the insurance industry's top performing companies as determined by the Ward Group.
Sept 2010 Embrace wins the Northcoast 99 Award, the first of many recognizing Embrace as one of Northeast Ohio’s best places to work for top talent.
Nov 2010 Contemporary pet artist, BZTAT, turns the Embrace office into an art gallery.
Mar 2011 Embrace receives the NEO Success Award. Established as a way to showcase the success of business in our region, the NEO Success Awards program recognizes the top-performing companies in Northeast Ohio.
Jun 2011 Embrace reaches breaks even! All the long hours and uncertainty of the early days pays off with positive cash flow.
Aug 2011 Cabela's Pet Insurance brand is launched focused on helping owners of hunting, sport, and other outdoor dogs protect against unexpected accidents and illnesses.
Aug 2012 Embrace partners with American Modern Insurance Group ®, a specialty insurance company serving niche or underserved markets and an AM Best A+ rated insurance carrier (as of December 2, 2013).
Sept 2012 Healthy Pet Deductible™ is launched, rewarding pets with a $50 credit towards their deductible for each year they receive no claim reimbursement.
June 2013 The proverbial blood, sweat and tears pay off as Beauvest US purchases a controlling interest in Embrace.
Sept 2013 Expanding its ever-growing partner program, Embrace begins writing pet insurance for Ameriprise and Bank of the West.
Nov 2013 Striving to make pet insurance a household name, Embrace and American Modern work with Armed Forces Insurance to protect even more cats and dogs.
Nov 2013 Dr. Marty Becker, "America's Veterinarian," recommends Embrace Pet Insurance as part of his push to end economic euthanasia.
April 2014 Embrace partners with Helen Woodward Animal Center, one of America's top non-profit animal welfare organizations, to save animals.
May 2014 Embrace moves into a new, modern, larger work space specifically tailored for our needs (increased common spaces, fencing around work areas to allow more pets in the office, etc.) in Warrensville Hts., Ohio.
June 2014 Embrace named one of Northeast Ohio's Top Workplaces by The Plain Dealer.
Nov 2014 Embrace launches Office Foster Program in partnership with Berea Animal Rescue Fund to provide temporary housing to needy cats and kittens until they are adopted into their forever homes.