Embrace Pet Insurance NY Policies Move to RLI

George michael freedom Another step in the move to RLI - Embrace Pet Insurance policies in NY will move from the RLI Mt Hawley surplus lines terms and conditions to the RLI admitted paper effective today, January 31st.

I know - it's a bunch of insurance hooey, but what it means is no more upfront taxes and no more signing unintelligble insurance forms when you start your policy. In other words, no more bureaucracy.

Sing it out louch - freedom, freedom, freedom!

Related Posts - move to RLI
Embrace Pet Insurance NY Policies Move to RLI
Embrace pet insurance policies finally move over to RLI!

Embrace moves 12 more states to RLI
Embrace has a new insurance partner - A+ rated RLI Corp
What the new Embrace / RLI partnership means for you - new terms and conditions
PennHIP Pet Insurance Discount now available at Embrace Pet Insurance
The new and improved Embrace Wellness Rewards program

Anyone interested in some Embrace Dental Rewards? Pick me, pick me!
Embrace Continuing Care Sublimits are gone!
Other interesting changes in the Embrace Pet Insurance policies

Pet insurance policy premiums that don't increase over time - Trupanion case study

Some pet parents believe that the Trupanion Insurance premiums do not increase over time and so they ask us what Embrace Pet Insurance premiums will do in comparison. It's a good and valid question.

Trupanion states on their website and marketing materials that Trupanion policies will not increase Trupanion policy premiums due to the pet aging, which makes people think that the premium does not increase over time; however, there are many other reasons that Trupanion's premiums will go up as a pet ages - Trupanion premiums will increase over time.

For example, Trupanion was approved for a 51.77% for premium increase in California and a 32.7% increase in Florida plus they filed for an automatic 15% veterinary inflation increase every year thereafter (the automatic increases were not approved in either state). So even Trupanion says their premiums should increase over time.

The Trupanion premium increases reflect a number of factors such as:

  • true veterinary inflation, which at the present is 4.8%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (November 2010 data) - this would be when a standard veterinary exam goes from $50 to $52.50
  • types of treatments your veterinarian performs for the same illness - this would be when your vet performs additional tests that he/she didn't do before
  • level of deductible a pet parent chooses - if the policies have higher deductibles on average than the prior year, people tend not to submit the lower amount claims that don't reach the deductible, increasing the average claim  
  • type of pets insured, such as more purebred dogs that have higher claims than before, and
  • increasing age of the pets insured - yes, this would be buried in the increase on an overall basis if the overall average age of the book of business went up, which would happen in a mature book of business, but likely not at this early stage of Trupanion's history (a growing book of business tends to add younger pets, which swamps the aging pets already insured)

So Trupanion's premiums are expected to increase every year. And to be financially responsible, pet insurance premiums should increase a small amount reasonably frequently to keep up with increasing claims payments so the pet insurance company is around to protect your pet for many years to come.

Ten Things You Can Do to Enhance Your Embrace Pet Insurance Experience

Yay! You have your pet insurance policy in hand. Now what? Here are 10 points we like to share on how to have the best experience possible in using that policy. 

  1. Store the Embrace phone number on your cell phone
    800-511-9172 You never know when you'll want to call in with questions about your coverage. We've had people call in while  driving to the emergency clinic to check on their policy.
  2. Update your email friend list
    Add Embrace to your friend list and set it to allow anything from @embracepetinsurance.com through. We email pretty much everything, some of which has attachments that some email systems don't like. Don't miss out on important Embrace info. 
  3. Print out 2 copies of your personalized Claim Form for each pet
    Put one in your car's glove compartment in case of emergencies and take one to your veterinary clinic and ask them to put it in your file.  They can run off copies next time you should need a claim form, so it’s one less thing to think about during a health issue.
  4. Have your Pet checked by a veterinarian
    Not only is it a good idea, particularly if you don't have any health history for your pet (when it is required to start your insurance), but you can have your vet complete the Orthopedic Report Card to reduce the 6 month waiting period for orthopedic issues down to 14 days (only needed for dogs).  This will ensure that you’re covered in the first six months in the event of something like a ligament tear or a broken bone.  And, you can take care of task #5 too while you are there…
  5. Fax in your pet's health history
    800-238-1042 (it's on your claim form too - the one you are going to put in your pet's file, right?) Specifically, ask your vet to fax us your doctor's hand written notes (aka SOAP) for every vet visit your pet has made, including routine visits and for every vet including one-off visits to other clinics. If your pet is older than a year old, start with the last year's worth of history.  We’ll even review your pet’s records to let you know if we find any pre-existing conditions that might affect future claims - just ask for a Medical History Review.  
  6. Maximize your discounts
    We offer discounts for spayed/neutered pets (5%) and microchipped pets (another 5%) so if your pet wasn't spayed or neutered and/or microchipped when you signed up for your insurance but that changes, phone in (remember the number?) and let us know. We'll drop your premium immediately.
    Your policy has a deductible and copay component so to be financially prudent, you might want to set up a small fund to cover your annual deductible and copay. For example, if your annual deductible is $200 and your copay is 20%, you will be paying the first $200 of a claim and then 20% of the total thereafter. On a $500 claim, that's $260 out of pocket and on a $1,500 claim (about what an inexpensive cruciate repair costs), that's $460.
  7. Read your terms and conditions!
    I know, this is so obvious, why should I even mention it? But my experience is that only 1 in 10 pet parents actually read their policies (you can be the 1 in 10 for today, right?). At the very least, check your information is correct and your policy is what you asked for. Then read the rest of the policy; understanding your terms and conditions will make for a much better pet insurance experience. 
  8. Set up your own pet health savings account
    Your  policy has a deductible and copay component, so to be financially prudent, you might want to set up a small fund to cover your annual deductible and copay. For example, if your annual deductible is $200 and your copay is 20%, you will be paying the first $200 of a claim and then 20% of the total thereafter. On a $500 claim, that's $260 out of pocket and on a $1,500 claim (about what an inexpensive cruciate repair costs), that's $460.
  9. Friend Embrace on Facebook
    You'll find lively conversation about Embrace, the pets in our lives, and news and views on pet insurance. We’ll also keep you informed of your options and ways to save money on your pet expenses.
  10. Call us with your questions
    The number again is 800-511-9172 (of course, it's already on your cell phone, right?) Now that you've read your policy, you probably have questions. Call now to get those questions answered that from the lobby of your local emergency vet clinic.
  11. And bonus points - send us photos of you and your Embraced pets. We love the cute and fuzzies and you might see them in the Embrace newsletter "Belly Rubs" one day!

Guest Post by Lea: talking about poo!

While I'm off in Ireland for two weeks, Lea, our renewal specialist at Embrace (and blogger extraordiaire) shares her dog's new hobby - coprophagia (aka poo eating). Hope you aren't eating your lunch when you read this.

image from blog.embracepetcommunity.com I can't believe what I'm about to type, but I'm just going to come out and admit that we have a problem: Tahlula is eating poo.

The back yard is coated with several inches of Cleveland snow, making it tough for us to keep the yard tidy. That's never really been a problem, until about two weeks ago, when my husband went to call her inside and found her nom-noming something awful.  I didn't even believe him when he told me what he'd seen.  But the next day, I saw it for myself-an image I'd like erased from my mind. Eww.

First, we need to get to the root of the problem,  I found a very helpful article at Paw-Rescue.org.  The information offers up several possible reasons that a dog might start doing this nastiness (the technical term being " Coprophagia"), diet, emotional issues, boredom to name a few.  The causes seem to vary depending on the age and lifestyle of the dog. 

Now that Tahlula's been on her diet and lost all the necessary weight, I think her body might be craving a bit more...so step 1 will be to feed her the "management" portions.  Additionally, the article says that some dogs tend to do this when they're not getting enough time spent with their owners--possible, because I've been working extra hours away from home lately. 

Really? If Tahlula wants more affection and hugging, this new nasty habit is having the reverse effect...

What do we do now?  The article had several tips.  Here are just a few:

  • Change the dog's diet. Buy or prepare only nutritious, quality food that is formulated for the dog's age, breed and any medical issues.  For the dog who may be hungry, try feeding him a little more, and make sure you feed a quality, nutritious food that is appropriate for the age and type of canine.
  • Take the dog to your veterinarian for an examination for underlying medical and health problems, parasites and other problems that may be compelling him to eat feces.
  • There are products that you can apply to the stools that will discourage your dog from consuming them. Some are available from pet supply stores and others from veterinarians. These include Forbid.
  • Add two to four tablespoons of canned pumpkin to the food bowl each day. Pumpkin apparently tastes good in food, but repugnant when expelled in excrement.
  • Add a spoon (teaspoon or tablespoon depending on the dog's size) of canned pineapple, pineapple juice or spinach to the dog's food.
  • Add some meat tenderizer or MSG to the dog's food.

I'm starting out by giving both dogs a bit of meat tenderizer on their dinner, and will substitute some pineapple for their next snack.  I'll keep you posted on our progress, but wish me luck! 

Related Posts:
January is Wellness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest post: cat wellness care or why cats are not little dogs
Claim Example: Spay (aka OVH/OVE in veterinary speak)
Claim Example: Neuter
Guest Post by Lea: This is your Weight-Loss Wakeup Call
Why Are Pet Veterinarian Visits Going Down?
The Embrace Wellness Rewards Plan

Guest Post: why wellness checkups are so important to me
The Embrace Wellness Rewards Plan

Lea is one of Embrace's longest serving Embracers, being one of the first two employees hired at the company. She does a wonderful job looking after policy renewals at Embrace, as well as blogging on the Embrace Pet Community blog. And of course, she looks pretty darn good on TV too!


Guest Post: why wellness checkups are so important to me

Mark Braun and Gracie As you know, it's Wellness Month at Embrace and we were chit-chatting about it on our Facebook page, when Mark Braun, one of our Embraced pet parents, eloquently said:

Yup, I've been extremely happy with the Wellness coverage, among other things with Embrace. It's like a health savings plan for your pet. I wrote a review at petinsurancereview.com about it. Not that Embrace needed more glowing reviews!

Given his obvious passion about pet wellness at Embrace, I asked him to write up his thoughts on wellness and the Embrace Wellness Rewards Program and much to my surprise, he agreed!

Here are Mark's own words about wellness.

On occasion I’m sure we’ve all wished that our pets had controls, like the remote for a DVD player.  Every once in a while I’ve longed for a pause button for my very active dog!  But our dogs and cats aren’t machines; they’re complicated biological organisms just as we are.  When we adopt a pet, we accept the responsibility for their wellbeing, physically, mentally and emotionally.  Maintaining their condition becomes important to us and we want the best for them.  Important aspects of maintaining their physical wellbeing include checkups, vaccinations, and treatments such as heartworm and flea prevention to protect them from dangerous pests.  These are a part of wellness care.

I know from personal experience that far too many people only take their pets to the veterinarian when there are signs of a problem, perhaps an injury or symptoms indicating the onset of a disease.   Imagine how much less anxiety for the owner and discomfort for the pet would be involved if these pets had been seen by a vet on a routine basis, catching potential problems before they can develop.  

By examining your pet and monitoring vital signs, veterinarians and veterinary technicians can use their training and expertise to immediately recognize when there are signs present which may lead to a problem down the road, and suggest simple lifestyle changes to help prevent those problems.  Perhaps a different diet or exercise routine will help Fido shed a few pounds, avoiding conditions like cardiovascular disease in the future.  When you’re together with your pet every single day it can be hard to notice subtle changes.  But your vet can take a fresh approach!   A wellness visit also allows the staff to form a baseline understanding of what your pet’s behavior is like, what its vital signs show, when there is no sign of sickness.  This can help greatly in recognizing and treating any illness in the future too. 

I think that it’s extremely important to work with a veterinarian that you’re comfortable with.  A sense of clear communication is essential.  If you were uncomfortable with your own doctor, you’d switch doctors, right?  A wellness visit, away from the stress involved in treating an illness, will give you the chance to evaluate your relationship with your pet’s doctor too.  So if something does indeed come up, you’re not meeting someone at random for the first time with no prior communication. 

Our animals live in the environment we chose for them.  Modern medicine gives us the ability to protect them from many of the risks associated with that environment.  With vaccinations available for diseases which used to be a death sentence for our pets, there’s no excuse to skip this essential protection.  Same with heartworm and flea prevention; these are affordable and convenient safeguards and we owe it to our pets to keep them from the discomfort and illness associated with these pests too.  At the risk of sounding too negative, how would you feel if your dog came down with a life threatening case of heartworm when a simple monthly chewable pill could have eliminated the risk in the first place? 

It’s not free or even cheap to have a pet.  I’d spend the money on these wellness requirements in any case.  Embrace makes it easier with their wellness plans by adding to my contribution.  It’s like having a health savings plan for my dog.  And it’s important to me that there isn’t a pre approved schedule for payments either.  My vet charges for a physical exam and it’s covered.  That way I get to choose the care provider that I’m most comfortable with, and that my Gracie is most comfortable with too.

Related Posts:
January is Wellness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest post: cat wellness care or why cats are not little dogs
Claim Example: Spay (aka OVH/OVE in veterinary speak)
Claim Example: Neuter
Guest Post by Lea: This is your Weight-Loss Wakeup Call
Why Are Pet Veterinarian Visits Going Down?
The Embrace Wellness Rewards Plan

Guest Post: why wellness checkups are so important to me
The Embrace Wellness Rewards Plan

Mark is pet parent to Gracie, a 3 year old mixed breed dog. They reside together in North Venice FL.

Note that Mark was not compensated in any way to write this post - except for virtual hugs across the interweb of course

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