Announcement: Embrace Pet Insurance partners with The International Cat Association TICA

TICA Ooh ooh! Some exciting news I've been dying to share.

We at Embrace Pet Insurance have partnered with The International Cat Association (TICA) to provide discounts and pet health insurance education to TICA's members and pet owners.

Rainbow kitty While I do love dogs (having grown up with many different canine characters through to my adulthood), I've most recently had only cats in the house (young family, young company, neglected husband - no time to care properly for a dog - yet!) so I'm very happy with this relationship. Cats get the short end of the stick when it comes to pet insurance so hopefully our relationship with TICA will change that.

Here's my favorite part of the press release:

"Other organizations have associations with other pet insurance companies but Embrace not only provides what we consider the best insurance coverage compared to other companies, but Embrace also shares the same philosophy about cat welfare as TICA," said Fisher. "That is important to our members and it is why we chose to partner with Embrace."

About The International Cat Association
Organized during 1979, The International Cat Association (TICA) is the world's largest genetic registry of pedigreed cats, largest registry of household pet cats and kittens, and one of the world's largest sanctioning bodies for cat shows. TICA currently recognizes more than 54 breeds of cats. No matter where you are, you’re in TICA’s world. A world of fabulous felines…fun…and friendships. To learn more about TICA visit

Picture courtesy of Emily Krooglik, age 6 (daughter of Alex Krooglik, co-founder of Embrace) - it's her modernistic tribute to her black cat Mila. Don't you think it's awesome?!

Embrace Pet Insurance joins NAPHIA

Naphia NAPHIA is the North American Pet Health Insurance Association and Embrace is the 5th member to join (see bottom of this post for the other members).

I'm not one for joining organizations (I have better things to be doing with my time right now) but I thought this is one was worth the time and effort.

Pet insurance is only going to grow if pet parents know more about the benefits of pet insurance and we (embrace) can't do it by ourselves.

Pet Health Insurance Association Grows in Robust Market Adding Additional Pedigree to Board of Directors

May 7, 2009 (Pittsburgh, PA) The North American Pet Health Insurance Association(NAPHIA) announced today the addition of Laura Bennett, President and Chief Embracer of Embrace Pet Insurance to its Board of Directors.

According to Loran Hickton, Executive Director of NAPHIA, “Laura Bennett is a champion of pets and their owners. Along with her team, she has built a successful pet health insurance company, while supporting the most positive principals of third party support for better pet care for all pets. Laura is creative and a keenly focused business person who will add significant value to the efforts of our Board.”

Ms. Bennett has over 16 years of insurance industry experience, including her work for The Canada Life Assurance Company in Toronto, Canada, and Dublin, Ireland, where she held a number of different leadership roles in asset-liability management, strategic planning, and business development. Laura holds an honors mathematics degree from the University of Western Ontario, is a qualified life and health actuary, and holds a chartered financial analyst designation. Laura is the only pet health insurance actuary in North America. Laura received her MBA, with a concentration in Strategic and Entrepreneurial Management from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, where she graduated with several university and peer awards. She was also part of the team that won first prize in the Wharton Business Plan Competition in 2003, with an entry for a pet insurance company.

“I am honored to be a member of this distinguished board and I look forward to working with all pet health insurance providers to educate pet parents on the value of pet insurance, and to promote the highest levels of transparency in pet health insurance,” added Laura Bennett.  

“While this difficult economy presents challenges for consumers and pet owners, it is also driving a robust market for pet insurance; in fact, the market in North America is very strong and has grown over 300% in just the past few years,” continued Hickton.

Research by the American Veterinary Medical Association shows that today pets are truly members of the American family. In the United States, for example, about 60% of households have at least one dog, cat, bird, or other companion animal; many have more than one. There are more than 72 million pet dogs in the U.S. and nearly 82 million pet cats. The owners of these pets spent $24.5 billion on veterinary medicine in 2006, more than double their spending of ten years earlier.

The Board of Directors of NAPHIA:

Jack Stephens, DVM, President & Founder, Pets Best Pet Health Insurance

Darryl Rawlings, CEO & Founder, American Pet Insurance Company, Trupanion™ and Vetinsurance™ brands

Dennis Rushovich, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hartville Group, which includes Hartville Pet Health Insurance, ASPCA Pet Health Insurance™, and Petshealth Care Plan™ brands

Randy Valpy, President & COO, SecuriCan, Petsecure Pet Health Insurance

Founded in 2007, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association is committed to educating and promoting the values and benefits of pet health insurance to North American pet owners, the general public, and the veterinary industry.  For more information, visit www.naphia.orgor call 412-319-7730 / 412-908-9766.

Loran Hickton

Executive Director

North American Pet Health Insurance Association

Millie's Million: center of learning for canine cancer

Cece_at_work We recently received a new claim for lymphoma in a female 3 year old mixed breed dog called Red. Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymph nodes, which can be treated successfully with chemotherapy.

Red's care, spread over 3 months, has cost $4,300 so far, paying for initial symptoms of panting and overheating to her chemotherapy treatments. There will be further follow up care, likely putting the total vet bill for her lymphoma over $5,000.

In cases like this though, while the cost is incredibly high, the emotional toll cannot be underestimated. In my post on Coping With Your Dog's Cancer, I mentioned Millie's Million, an organization that helps pet parents learn about and cope with their dog's cancer. 

Debbie Celli, the force behind Millie's Million, knows from person experience with her dog Millie how difficult it can be to comprehend what is happening and to connect with people who have gone through the same thing.

For example, check out the video section as a great resource from veterinarians and pet parents alike on the realities of canine cancer.

There, veterinarians from the Metropolitan Veterinary Hospital talk about:

  • the various forms of cancer and treatments
  • cancer from a surgical standpoint
  • what you can do if you can't afford traditional cancer treatment or what you can do in addition to them

In addition, there are videos from pet parents sharing their stories:

  • a dog's amputation due to cancer
  • a successful journey with Lymphoma
  • mentoring people through their dogs' cancer

As well as the video center, you can sign up for canine cancer mentorship and delve into other canine cancer resources online.

If you are going through cancer with your dog or know someone who is, Millie's Million is a great resource during a very emotional time.

Related Posts:
What is Osteosarcoma in dogs and cats?
Toe tumors;
My cat or dog is limping;
And a beautiful story of dog cancer, friendship and caring in Grace's story and Grace's eulogy.

Veterinary Associations endorse pet insurance

Two of the largest veterinary organizations in the US, AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) and AAHA (The American Animal Hospital Association) , both have statements that support pet insurance.

You might wonder at this because not all vets individually support pet insurance (he might have seen his clients get burnt in the past perhaps?) but the organizations sees the benefit of pet insurance for vet clients.

Aaha AAHA's statement covers the more general topic of meeting the cost of pet care and includes the following:

The American Animal Hospital Association strongly suggests that all pet owning families assess their financial situation and consider their ability to meet unexpected expenses that may be incurred for veterinary care. For some families, these expenses may be met through existing savings. Others may be able to use credit card reserves or medical payment cards. Some families should consider budgeting for these expenses and still others may want to consider protecting themselves through pet health insurance policies.

The statement goes on to list some of the considerations you should consider when choosing pet insurance:

    • Be sure you understand what the policy covers. Some policies (but not all) cover some preventative care, such as vaccinations, but there may be additional cost for this coverage.
    • Understand the exclusions. Almost all policies exclude pre-existing conditions and some exclude hereditary conditions. Some may exclude certain conditions unique to certain breeds.
    • Almost all policies have a deductible and a co-pay requirement. Some pay according to a set schedule of “usual and customary fees” while some pay based on the actual incurred expense. Be sure you understand how expenses will be reimbursed.
    • Ask whether or not the policy allows you to seek care from a veterinarian of your own choosing or whether you must go to a veterinarian that participates in the company’s network of providers. When faced with a pet’s serious illness, most pet owners want to be able to obtain care from their regular veterinarian.
    • Speak with your veterinarian or someone on her practice team. While veterinarians do not sell insurance, chances are they have had experience with the policy you are considering and can provide helpful advice.

These are all pretty sound points to consider. I'm not sure that a vet will know every pet insurance product out there and her consideration may be slanted by what she's seen in the past but it's worth asking anyway as just one of many data points for your research on pet insurance.

Avma_logo Unfortunately, I couldn't find AVMA's statement on-line. We know they have one but it's not on their website that I could find. If anyone does happen to find it, let me know will ya?

APPMA embraces our pet-related small business trends

Appma_home_page_spring_2007 This is the American Pet Product Manufacturer Association (APPMA) home page for the last month or so. The APPMA is "the leading not-for-profit trade association made up of over 900 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers." But also, they are the most quoted source for numbers about pets and have a lot of visitors interested in pets visit their site.

What's so special for Embrace is that the featured news at the top is the pet-related small business trends article I wrote for Anita Campbell over at the Small Business Trends blog. I thought I'd record it for the Embrace scrapbook.

Thanks APPMA, we really appreciate the nod.

Embrace Pet Community

Embrace_pet_community_cat_and_dog_1 Do we ever have a Christmas present for you!

Some of you may have clued in to this but we have released a new website. No, it's not the Embrace Pet Insurance website (coming early 2007) but it's the Embrace Pet Community website

The Embrace Pet Community is a pet-related online association that focuses on shopping for your four-legged fur kids - what more could you want?!

You can find deals from our unique partners, shopping forums to find deals with help from other pet parents (looking for freebies or some hard to find bargains? This is the place for you), a pet shopping blog, and there is a super-duper feature that's not quite ready yet but you can read about it on the website here.

We think you just might find this useful so please spread the word... The more, the merrier.

American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)

AahaI have been slacking off on the blog over the last couple of days because things seem to be never ending in the office lately. At least we aren't trying to get accredited - I don't think I could handle someone coming in and tut-tutting at the state of my desk and frowning upon our hamster cage while I'm trying to hire people, review websites, write marketing plans, raise more money, and of course, write blogs.

But there are a super group of veterinary hospitals that do go through the strictest of inspections while doing their everyday jobs to become an accredited AAHA hospital.

What is the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)?

"Healthy Practices. Healthier Pets." AAHA's goal is to provide the best veterinary care for companion animals through high quality education programs, accreditation and other various services. It was started in 1933 by seven leaders of the veterinary profession and has grown into a large professional organization with over 3,000 veterinary hospitals accreditated.

What do they do?

AAHA has an accreditation program for veterinary practices to assist them in providing the best care possible. It's pretty tough to become an AAHA hospital and to do this they must work with an AAHA Practice Consultant who evaluates everything about the practice. They evaluate everyone from the veterinarians to the kennel personnel to the office staff, including all of the procedures they use. (I bet people don't sleep much the night before the Practise Consultant comes around)

I thought the next section was pretty interesting - here are the goals you have to keep meeting once your veterinary hospital is accredited:

  • Have challenging benchmarks to reach
  • Ensure that you are up-to-date on changes in veterinary medicine
  • Improve practice operations and check skills
  • Enhance credibility with peers and clients
  • Inspire pride among staff members
  • Encourage leadership development
  • Have their achievements recognized

I'm not sure how you measure pride amongst the staff - can someone fill me in on that?

What can the website offer you (assuming you aren't a vet)?

AAHA has a website for the general public called Healthy Pet where you can find an accredited hospital near you, research info about breeds, behavior, common illnesses, nutrition, the human/animal bonds, pet care tips and preventative care in the Pet Care Library, check out the pet photo page, and buy books and cards from the AAHA store.

AAHA also created the Helping Pets Fund which raises money for animals who need veterinary care but their owner cannot afford it.

AVMA highlights senior cat and dog care

Rosie_aug_05 The American Veterinary Medical Association put out a press release today focusing on senior cats and dogs. I love this quote:

"The most important message that we wanted to provide at the point that we wrote these guidelines is that age is not a disease," said Dr. Ilona Rodan, co-chair of the report and owner of the Cat Care Clinic in Madison, Wis.

The article highlights a couple of reports on aging, which are good reads for those of us with aging pets:

Some tidbits from the reports:

  • Dogs and cats are living longer due to advances in Veterinary medicine and care provided by the owners
  • Pets living longer raises the need for pet insurance at an early age to cover for Geriatric conditions such as osteoarthritis and glaucoma
  • Geriatric animals have different needs for a long healthy life. Consult with your veterinarian about how to properly care for your geriatric pet. Consider the food, exercise level, and medical requirements.
  • Yearly physicals are important in early prevention and detection of diseases.
  • AGE IS NOT A DISEASE. Pay attention to your aging pet’s behavior. Yes, Pumpkin may be slowing down due to age but she may also have arthritis which is manageable with medication and can improve her quality of life. Pet owners also want animals to live longer, and they're willing to spend more money to maintain quality of life for aging animals—both for dogs and for cats.

Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT)

2006_apdt_conference_logo I've been reading a lot lately on people in various stages of training their dogs (from learners to thinking about competing) so I thought I'd check out the organizations around dog training and found the Association of Pet Dog Trainers (APDT).

Vision: All dogs are effectively trained through dog-friendly techniques and therefore are lifelong companions in a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.

Mission: The mission of the APDT is to enhance the human-dog relationship by educating trainers, other animal professionals and the public and advocating dog-friendly training.

They have over 5000 members from all over the world, but mainly centered on the US. You can search the database of trainers as well as getting tips on choosing a trainer.

If you are interested in becoming a certified dog trainer, there's also some good info. If so, you might want to go to the conference coming up September 13-17, 2006 in Kansas City. They promise no hurricanes.

American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA)

I made a new friend through my blog today. She's called Liz Blondy and she has just started up Canine to Five Detroit Dog Day Care. I have so much respect for anyone who strides out to set up their own business. Go Liz Go!

I noticed on her website a link to the American Boarding Kennel Association (ABKA) [update: this organization doesn't exist anymore; however, check the comments for other places you can learn about pet boarding] and I thought it would be interesting to learn a little more about them. Here are some of the services I found on the ABKA website:

  • if you are looking for a pet boarding facility, check out this online info pack that has some useful tips on what to look for
  • if you run a boarding facility that could use the benefits of association membership, there are four types of memberships
  • ABKA provides online kennel staff education
  • ABKA has a classifieds section with items such as kennels for sale - entrepreneurs check this out
  • ABKA are sponsoring the Pet Care Expo at the end of September where you can learn how to set up your own pet services company

All in all, it seems to be a pretty useful site with relevant information for those interested in dog boarding. There are other topics but they are covered to a lesser extent.

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