Embrace has a new insurance partner - A+ rated American Modern Home Insurance Company

As of today, Embrace is selling American Modern Home Insurance Company pet insurance policies in 38 states (see the list on the Embrace's Underwriter page). We are in the process of rolling out all 51 jurisdicitions we work in, so if your state isn't on the list, it will be very soon.

Why are we changing insurance underwriters?
The usual thing that comes to mind when you hear a company changing underwriters is that something has gone amiss with the partnership between the pet insurance program and the underwriter; however, in the case of Embrace Pet Insurance leaving RLI, quite the opposite is true.

In our case, RLI loved the Embrace program so much, they wanted to buy us. Unfortunately, we couldn't come to agreement on the terms and when we agreed to disagree, we then felt it better that Embrace move on to find another underwriting partner. So sad! It's kind of like after you propose to your sweetheart and she turns you down, you don't keep dating, as much as you might want to. 

We are very grateful and appreciative of the partnership and support RLI has given us over the last three years. We did make great partners, if I do say so myself.

And now we are transitioning over to American Modern and it's going very smoothly.

Who is American Modern?
I am absolutely delighted to partner with the folks over at the American Modern Insurance Group (AMIG). Here are my top 5 reasons for partnering with AMIG, from the most obvious down to the most important:

  • AMIG's subsidiaries that we are working with are A+rated by AM Best, meaning that they have a superior ability to meet their ongoing insurance obligations, a most important characteristic if you want a company that is going to be there in the future when you need it the most.
  • AMIG is owned by Munich Re, which is one of the world's largest reinsurance companies, with annual premium income of about $62 billion. Munich Re operates in all lines of insurance, with around 47,000 employees throughout the world. What does that all mean? Financial stability and a highly trusted brand, which runs down through all of their companies.
  • AMIG is a specialty insurance company serving niche or underserved markets. So they know how to handle focused marketplaces and knows what it takes to succeed.
  • AMIG has a history of family-driven entrepreneurship and I still feel that from the everyone I have met there. This get-it-done attitude continues to be very important to me because I want and need an insurance partner that is going to understand the entpreneurial culture at Embrace.
  • AMIG has very strong work ethic and a lot of smart people who are wonderful to work with. Again, I need a good partner with people who work as a team, get things done, and who have fun doing it. In my opinion, that leads to building the most value for all involved (from the pet parent to the underwriter) and that's a good thing for everyone. 

I expect the transition to be seamless for our Embraced pet parents but it's always good to share the background of why this change has happened so you feel comfortable with our new underwriter.

I will go over the changes to the policies in my next post. *spoiler alert* They are minimal.

Sincerely,

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Laura Bennett
Chief Embracer & Co-Founder
Embrace Pet Insurance

Related Posts:
Embrace has a new insurance partner - A+ rated American Modern Home Insurance Company
Embrace's new Healthy Pet Deductible



Guest Post: alternative and complementary pet treatments

I'm delighted with today's podcast with Dr Patrick Mahaney since alternative or complementary treatments are his area of expertise (not that he isn't an expert on all we talk about of course).

Here are some of the items we cover in this podcast.

First Patrick goes over what alternative and complementary treatments are and  you integrate them into a pet’s veterinary care.

Then on to questions from our facebook friends…

Michael: Can acupuncture be used to mitigate chronic pain in an aging dog with arthritis in place of medications like Rimadyl?

Laura: a lot of alternative therapies I see are for orthopedic conditions, including arthritis. Are there other conditions that you can use alternative therapies for such as allergies or inflammatory bowel disease?

Sara: how do I go about finding a veterinarian that includes complementary treatment as an option?

Click on the link below for the audio podcast with the answer to these questions.

Dr Patrick & Laura Bennett Complementary Treatments for Pets

Related Posts:
July is Alternative Treatment Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: Acupuncture for Pets - a safe modality for pain management
Claim example: Wally regains his mobility through acupuncture and hydrotherapy
Claim Example: chiropractic treatment for Tygon the greyhound
Guest Post: alternative and complementary pet treatments
Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick Mahaney
Dr. Mahaney is a veterinarian from the University of Pennsylvania and a Certified Veterinary Acupuncturist, having been inspired by his own chronic pain from Intervertebral Disc Disease to provide accupuncture to his veterinary clients. In addition to Dr Mahaney's house call integrative veterinary medicine business, California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness, he sees patients on an in-clinic basis at Veterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA.

Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) for www.PatrickMahaney.com and contributes to a variety of media, including Perez Hilton's TeddyHilton.com, Fido Friendly, Veterinary Practice News, Healthy Pets and People with Dr Patrick on OutImpactRadio.com, and MSNBC Sunday with Alex Witt and Career Day. His first book, The Uncomfortable Vet, will be available in 2012 through Havenhurst Books



Hey - it's my 1000th post on the Embrace Pet Insurance blog!

It's hard to believe that 999 posts ago, I wrote the first Embrace blog post called "What am I trying to do?" on April 28, 2005. As an entrepreneur, I have no time to look years ahead in the future but I must admit, years ahead, it is certainly darn satisfying to look back.

Just to backtrack, the Embrace blog came about as follows.

Alex Krooglik and I (Laura Bennett) were part of the team that won the 2003 Wharton Business Plan Competition with a pet insurance idea (I know! Who'd have thunk it). Once we graduated, we decided that pet insurance is what we wanted to do with our lives and thus Embrace Pet Insurance was born in July 2003. Several years went by (raising money is a cinch compared to finding an insurance partnership) and we sold our first policy in October 2006. Things keep getting better ever since.

The purpose of this blog was to establish Embrace as experts in pet insurance and to build the Embrace brand as open and honest pet insurance that does exactly what you think pet insurance ought to do. As we noticed back in 2003, that approach seemed rather lacking in the market (and not just pet insurance I might add!)

Did it work? I like to think so.

When Embrace opened its doors for business on October 10, 2006, the blog had been running for 18 months. When Embrace launched, you could only purchase our insurance over the phone and so I wasn't expecting very much in the way of sales at all. After all, who would trust a pet insurance company that didn't even have a functioning online sales module?

Well, the phone did ring right from the start. Modestly of course, but the people who called were the ones that had been waiting for us to get going while reading the blog for a year and a half. That and our moms and friends calling too of course :)

In terms of Embrace, we have come along way but our core values have not changed:

  • Open and honest
    Our number one core value and one I mention more than any other when I'm talking about Embrace. Yes, insurance can care and be trusted!
  • Customer fixation
    No-one is ever just a policy number. We celebrate our pet parents' joys and we cry at their losses. They are our Embraced peeps and our friends
  • Community & environment
    We are part of many larger communities, whether it be where our Embracers live across the country, the pet parent world, or the community of dynamic growing emerging businesses, and we share the wealth everywhere we are
  • Personal responsibility
    Every Embracer takes initiative with their own careers, their role at Embrace, and the Embrace community at large
  • Innovation
    We create value for all involved by the innovative approach we take to our products, our relationships with our Embrace pet parents, and our internal operations. We never assume we're done.
  • Passion
    None of the other core values would be meaningful if we didn't truly care about what we do passionately. We really do wear our slippers at work and do the happy dance in the office. 

The Embrace blog has allowed me to share with you our thoughts and cares at Embrace and a bit of knowledge along the way. Thank you for joining in.

Sincerely,

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Laura Bennett
Chief Embracer & Co-Founder
Embrace Pet Insurance

 



Claim Example: chiropractic treatment for Tygon the greyhound

More claims stories on alternative therapies - yay! This one is for Tygon, a 6 year old greyhound living in San Jose, CA.

We asked Tygon's human mom about Tygon's chiropractic treatment and this is what she had to share:

Tygon the greyhoundTygon is an retired racing greyhound that started to have problems with his shoulders and back about a year after we adopted him.  

After doing some research, it appears that he had a collision during a race.  Collisions on the track are very violent, often flipping the dogs end over end. Tygon was not seriously injured and was able to finish the race but this is where's we believe his problem originated.  After consulting the vet we decided to try a dog chiropractor instead of more invasive procedures.  I was very sceptical about it but It has worked wonders on him.  Today, he sees the chiropractor a couple of times a year.  This keeps him happy and pain-free so he can be his goofy self.

Tygon has had 6 claims over the last couple of years, with claimed amount $1,086, covered amount $1,050 (some chews and routine care costs were not covered), and reimbursed amount $765.

Tygon's policy has a $10,000 annual maximum, a $200 annual deductible, and a 90% reimbursement percentage, and the prescription drug and wellness options were not selected. Tygon is 6 years old and his Embrace Pet Insurance policy costs $73.88 a month.

Related Posts:
July is Alternative Treatment Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: Acupuncture for Pets - a safe modality for pain management
Claim example: Wally regains his mobility through acupuncture and hydrotherapy
Claim Example: chiropractic treatment for Tygon the greyhound

 

 



Update on slow claims processing at Embrace

As a company obsessed with our relationship with our Embraced pet parents, we have been going through a painful experience over the last few months as we work to improve our claims process.

To put it plainly, the time it takes to process an Embrace claim has been far too long and in many cases well over the 15 business days we promise our pet parents. This is not like Embrace; not like us at all. 

In the spirit of openness and honesty, I thought I'd go over how this happened and what we are doing about it so everyone is in the loop. This is not about excuses (because in the end, it's just not good enough; there are no excuses long enough for that), I'm just presenting the situation as it happened and what you can expect going forward.

During Spring 2012 and through until now, we've experienced a backlog of claims that was initiated by a system change that went through in February. That change temporarily slowed down our document processing (to slower than molasses - it was so awful), which diverted our claims folks from claims processing to claims staging in an effort to help work through that queue.

That initial slowdown (that lasted about a month - ack!) led to a back up in open claims; that, combined with the very nice growth we've had in our number of insured pets in 2012, meant we had a much larger backlog than we have been staffed for, which you have been experiencing ever since, and we've been working on quashing as best we can.

We have now reduced that backlog to the point where we are within the 15 business days for most claims (finally!), but we continue to push hard to get to our internal standard of 10 business days. We're not there yet though.

Where do we go from here?  

In the short term, we are hiring more staff to cope with continued growth (know of any veterinary technicians interested in a change in the Cleveland area?) but we've also started a major overhaul of how we handle our claims to make things much faster, more consistent, and with fewer Embracers needed, but with the same personal but professional approach you have come to know us for.

To put the claims process in perspective, while everything we do is electronic, greatly helping the physical management of a claim, there are far too many electronic places to gather information from and far too many clicks needed to get a claim through from the original fax received to processed and completed. This is what we are focusing on.

Where are we in our overhaul process?

We have had some mini releases over the last month that has helped a few areas but our first big release will be early September. That release should have a significant impact on reducing the amount of time to close a claim. And this is just phase 2 of the overall claims process review (Phase 1 was the document handling capabilities we started off with early in 2012); the plans for further phases continue to develop.

So that's where we are at. The Embrace claims process is our number one priority internally through to the end of the year and likely beyond.

Feel free to talk about your experience in the comments below. I have appreciated all the feedback we have received over the last few months on this painful situation. We take all your comments to heart and use them to guide us in what is important to our pet parents.

Thank you so much for your continued patience. We have asked a lot from you and appreciate all your support and encouragement.

Sincerely,

Your Chief Embracer,

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Laura Bennett FSA CFA