April is Pet Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

Even though you might have pet insurance to protect against costs from unexpected health events, the ideal situation is that your pet has no unexpected health events at all. Wouldn't that be nice?

To that effect, we're focusing this month on overall pet health and preventing health events as best we can.

And while we are talking of pet health this month, here are some excellent articles on the Embrace pet health site, The Water Bowl

And here's one final one for some Easter fun with your dog:

What do you do to keep your pet healthy? Is there any one thing you think has the most effect? 

 



Dr Marty Becker and Embrace Pet Insurance partner up

Dr Marty finalI'm so happy to announce that Embrace is partnering with Dr Marty Becker, also known as America's Veterinarian, to spread the word far and wide about Embrace's affordable and effective pet insurance to prevent economic euthanasia when cats and dogs get sick.

I first met Dr Marty in 2011 when he came through Cleveland on his cross-country tour supporting his book "Your Dog: The Owner's Manual". He was meeting and greeting dog owners who had come to meet him and I was struck by how he personally connected with his fans, sharing a special tip for each person's situation like they had been friends for years.

Since then, I can see why Dr Marty has the impact he does - his care for pets and his actions to improve their lives is truly sincere, something I always wonder about with celebs who make money off what they say. Dr Marty is making a difference in the lives of pets and I'm delighted Embrace is now part of that mission.

Our official press release is here http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/americas-veterinarian-teams-up-with-embrace-pet-insurance-to-reduce-economic-euthanasia-238428041.html

Check out the Dr Marty Becker Amazon page for his very useful books on pet ownership.

About Dr Marty Becker:

Dr. Marty Becker, “America’s Veterinarian,” has spent his life working toward better health for pets and the people who love them.

Dr. Becker was the resident veterinary contributor on “Good Morning America” for 17 years. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the American Humane Association as well as its Chief Veterinary Correspondent, a founding member of Core Team Oz for “The Dr. Oz Show,” and a member of the Dr. Oz Medical Advisory Panel.

He has written 22 books that have sold more than 7 million copies, including three New York Times best-sellers — one of which is the fastest-selling pet book of all time, “Chicken Soup for the Pet-Lovers Soul.” He has been a contributor to Parade magazine, Reader‚Äôs Digest and AARP.org. Animal Radio hosts him monthly as their Chief Veterinary Correspondent.

Dr. Becker is an adjunct professor at his alma mater, the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and also at the Colleges of Veterinary Medicine at both Colorado State University and the University of Missouri. Additionally, he has lectured at every veterinary school in the United States.

A passionate advocate for the human-animal bond, Dr. Becker serves as an adjunct professor at the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. He is an honorary board member of Pet Partners and the Humane Society of New York, as well as a past board member and strong supporter of his local pet rescue group, Second Chance Animal Adoption of Bonner Ferry, ID, as well as a supporter of the Panhandle Animal Shelter in Sandpoint, ID, the Kootenai Humane Society in Coeur d’Alene, ID, and the Whitman County Humane Society in Pullman, WA.

Dr. Becker also serves as the Chief Veterinary Correspondent for the American Humane Association, with a strong focus on supporting their efforts to end the use of gas chambers in animal shelters, a cause for which he has successfully advocated since his earliest days as a veterinarian. His special fondness for older pets has led him to a spot on the Advisory Board of The Grey Muzzle Organization, which is dedicated to helping homeless senior dogs.

He practices, when his schedule allows, at Lakewood Animal Hospital and North Idaho Animal Hospital in north Idaho because he loves veterinary medicine, pets and the people who care for them.



When it’s time...to Remove a Pet from your Pet Insurance Policy

When I read this post that Embracer Lea wrote, I had a heavy heart and a tear in my eye. I've known Lyger as long as I've known Lea and he's been a wonderful part of Embrace's history.

It's hard to think you would ever drop your pet insurance policy for your older dog. What do you think about Lea's decision below?


Back in 2006 when I started with Embrace as one of just two employees, we weren’t even selling policies yet--just getting ready to.  But when the big day rolled around come October, we all jumped up and celebrated, then set to selling each other our very first insurance policies. Lyger, then just a six year old nutball who would sneak into the board meetings of our office neighbors, was among the first to be “embraced”.  We set him up with the “$5,000 max/$200 deductible/80% reimbursed” plan.

Flash forward a few years and his policy looks quite different.  Until he hit his “tweens” he’d been mostly healthy, with the exception of some arthritis so I reduced his coverage to a more catastrophic $500 deductible and 90% reimbursement option.  And that policy continued to serve us well, reimbursing for his mast cell tumor removal in 2012 and acupuncture in 2012.  Then his renewal rolled around last week, a happy reminder of how many years we’ve been selling policies, but also a reminder of how frail Lyger’s become, and how much the cost of insurance goes up with the advanced age.

During his last vet visit the doctor and I discussed his overall quality of life and noted that his arthritis and a large benign tumor were starting to take their toll on him.  I realized that the cancer surgery he had last year had been very hard on him, a trauma that he hasn’t fully recovered from.  While that’s bought him an extra year, it’s not the sort of procedure I’d put him through again. 

Realizing that Lyger’s $500 deductible wouldn’t serve much use in a situation where we had switched to pallative care, I took a look at the cost benefit of our coverage. Ultimately, Lyger’s insurance reached about $55 per month for a catastrophic plan that wasn’t paying for any of his home pain medications. (I’d opted out of the prescription drug coverage, and stand by my decision to do so...but that’s a post for another day.)  I consulted with my long-time colleagues about my decision, but ultimately took Lyger off of our Embrace plan.

So, now it feels very final.  No going back. No coverage “just in case”, because we’ve sadly hit that point at which  the next major step will be euthanasia.  And honestly, making the decision to jump off of the policy was difficult, but I have come to a resting point at which I no longer need to “make good use” of our policy.  In the insurance industry, we talk about avoiding “financial euthanasia”, or putting an animal to rest because the care is unaffordable.  But, we’re now at a polar opposite...I’ll no longer feel like I should proceed with treatment, just because I can.  It’s almost like I’ve made an internal agreement with myself. No more extreme measures, just respite care.

And I’m ok with it.  For now. Until that hard day comes.  In the meantime, I’ll opt to spend the savings I would have spent on premium on a few trips to his favorite ice cream stand.

A few notes from your Embrace agent about adding/removing pets:

  • Pets can be removed from the policy at anytime, though age guidelines may apply for pets being added to a policy. 
  • Pre-existing conditions may also apply if adding or re-adding a pet to your policy.
  • Coverage changes can be made, but any increase to your coverage will result in pre-existing conditions being reset.
  • Euthanasia is covered by your Embrace plan so long as the decision is brought about due to a covered condition. Cremation and burial costs are not included at this time.
  • When a pet is removed, for any reason, the coverage ceases and the policyholder is issued a refund for the remaining portion of premium paid.

Lyger celebrating a dog birthday in the office Lyger celebrating a dog birthday in the office



October is Working Dogs and Cats Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

This month, we are celebrating working dogs and cats of all types at Embrace Pet Insurance.

And before you ask, yes, there are cats that do "work". Apart from cleaning up the rodents on the premises (which your cat may or may not have a talent for), some cats are quite good at being therapy cats, whether in a hospital, nursing home, or in your own home.

Having said that, dogs pull a lot of weight when it comes to work. There are police dogs that work actively in the field plus sniff out drugs, bombs, fruit and other banned substances, and of course, criminals. There are cadaver dogs, seizure or blood-sugar alert dogs, mold-sniffing dogs, and even cancer-sniffing dogs? And of course, dogs and cats that work on the farm or in the field hunting or dragging a sled in the Iditarod.

So we shall have an interesting month being amazed at all the things that cats and dogs do for us apart from being excellent companions.

Another use for Dell Server boxes - hidey hole! Another use for Dell Server boxes - hidey hole! Another use for Dell Server boxes - hidey hole!Dogs and cats at the Embrace offices. (RIP Bruiser, the wonderful gentlemanly mastiff in the middle there. He just passed away from cancer aged 11. We miss you big guy)

Related Posts

October is Working Dogs and Cats Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: fake service dogs
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney and Laura Bennett talk about the wonder of working dogs and cats
Helping Working Dogs and Cats
One Dog's Passing Highlights the Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Schools



Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney and Laura Bennett talk pet insurance

Laura May 2013This time, the tables are turned and Dr Patrick Mahaney asks me, Laura Bennett, CEO of Embrace Pet Insurance (EPI), questions on the topic of pet insurance. It is after all, Pet Health Insurance Month.

Questions covered are:

  • What is the (estimated) number or percentage of pet owners in the U.S. who have insurance for their pets?
  • What are EPI’s top canine and feline health claims?
  • What are the main reasons pet owners give for establishing health insurance for their cats and dogs?
  • Why should a pet owner get pet insurance?
  • Does the typical pet owner keep their pet on Embrace's insurance throughout the pet's life?
  • Does EPI cover any pre-existing conditions?
  • Does EPI cover complementary and alternative medicine, such as acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, and so on?

Click on the link below for the podcast.

Laura Bennett & Dr Patrick Mahaney pet insurance 2013

Related Posts

September is Pet Health Insurance Month Across North America
Guest Post: Veterinary Perspective on Pet Insurance
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney and Laura Bennett talk pet insurance

Other posts by Dr Patrick Mahaney


Dr Patrick MahaneyDr. 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 atVeterinary Cancer Group in Culver City, CA. 

Dr Mahaney writes a veterinary column (Patrick's Blog) forwww.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 2013 through Havenhurst Books

 



September is Pet Health Insurance Month across North America

Wow, it's Pet Health Insurance Month in the US and Canada - spread the word! This month, we are going to talk about the benefits of pet insurance, what to look for in a policy and what you can expect from Embrace Pet Insurance.

In the meantime, do you have any questions you want answered on the topic of pet insurance?



Embrace in the news

We've had a lot of excellent press coverage at Embrace lately. Some of the good coverage because of our recent change in ownership, and some of it just because.

Our recent change in ownership is our most exciting update since we changed our underwriter to American Modern Insurance a year ago.

Before I get into details of the transaction, the bottom line is that:

  • Embrace is staying and growing in northeast Ohio,
  • we are remaining independent from other insurance organizations, and
  • we will continue to provide the great Embrace experience you've come to know from us. Nothing is going to change that way.

As for details, there's a great Plain Dealer article on the transaction "Embrace Pet Insurance Finds Success Keeping Tails Wagging". A private investor with deep experience in the insurance world, Beauvest (US), acquired all the shares of Embrace except for those belonging to me (Laura Bennett) and Alex Krooglik (we're the co-founders). Once that was complete, five of the original investors bought back in, indicating their continued confidence in Embrace and Alex and me (which was very much appreciated by all of us.)

So, for Alex and me, we are still as invested in Embrace as we were before (no Tesla for me this time around!) and we will continue to run Embrace as we have all these years. We also have a very long-term investor who has no particular time horizon for this investment. It's as perfect as it could have been.

The other part of the transaction is that we locked in our underwriting partnership with American Modern for another 5 years, which I am absolutely delighted about. Not only does that give me great comfort that I won't be looking for another underwriter any time soon, but also, the American Modern folks are a great group of guys and gals backed by the solid support of their owner, Munich Re, the largest reinsurance company in the world.

It's tough to say goodbye to Jumpstart, who got us off the ground, and NCT Ventures, who invested a significant sum back in October 2008 during one of the worst financial crises since the Great Depression. Both organizations have supported us for many years and we would not be here without them. 

Having said that, I will continue to be very active with Jumpstart, encouraging and supporting other entrepreneurs in northeast Ohio. Personally, I'm delighted that the proceeds from Jumpstart's investment in Embrace will go towards other new companies in the area. Got to love that flywheel!

As for that other press we've been getting:

  • COSE magazine profiled Embrace along with two other local entrepreneurial companies, highlighting the exciting entrepreneurial environment here in NEO (and I got to be on the cover - woohoo!)
  • Scene Magazine did an extensive article on entrepreneurship in Cleveland in the article "Startup City" mentioning Embrace as well
  • Embrace was recently listed as one of 20 Cool Tech Companies in Cleveland
  • I recently participated in a Jumpstart podcast "For Entrepreneurs, By Entrepreneurs" discussing the importance of culture and opportunities created for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, many of which are focused on peer networking and education.

Definitely exciting times! Onwards and upwards.

Your Chief Embracer,

Laura Bennett



May is All About Differently-Abled Pets at Embrace Pet Insurance

IMG_3189 rotatedWe are having fun with Brutus in the office today. He's an enthusiastic black lab who loves to hang out with Lindsey on the phones. He also happens to have only one eye but that doesn't seem to bother him one bit.

And so we start the theme for this month - differently-abled pets. Pets such as those who are blind or have limited-sight, those with fewer than 4 limbs, those who wobble to get around. And of course, those that can opera sing too!

Do you have a differently-abled dog or cat you'd like to share with us? Email me (Laura) photos, stories or just post a few words in the comments and we can share our love for these pets.

Related Posts:
May is All About Differently-Abled Pets at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: differently-abled dogs and people
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Differently-Abled Pets
Life with Differently-Abled Dogs



March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance

It was my birthday the other day and I got the nicest bunch of flowers (in Embrace purple as well!) but it wasn't until yesterday that I noticed that there were two sprigs of lillies in the vase.

Luckily my cats have been rather incurious about flowers in the kitchen but they could have jumped up while we were out and inspected, perhaps munched on them, as cats are wont to do. If that had happened, I might have come home to very sick cats and a very different ending to the day.

There are poisons everywhere and as often as we hear about them, they can sneak into our lives, causing havoc and in the extreme, death in our pets' lives.

This month we'll present some of our poison claim examples and get the word on claims from our favorite veterinarians, Dr Rex Riggs and Dr Patrick Mahaney.

In the meantime, look around your house with fresh eyes and see what lurks.

Related Posts:
March is Pet Poison Prevention Awareness Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: Good Intentions Can Lead to Pet Poisonings

 



Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Cleanings and Illness?

IMG_0070As a matter of fact, you can get your dental cleaning and dental illness treatments covered up to $400 if you have the Embrace Pet Insurance Wellness Rewards Plus coverage.

The best part is, you don't have to fulfill restrictive dental care every year just to get the coverage; it's part of your pet's wellness care, as it should be. 

The Wellness Rewards Plus coverage also covers issues that occured before you purchased your policy since there's no such thing as a pre-existing condition for Wellness Rewards claims. Nor a deductible. Nice!

Learn more about dental illness and wellness coverage here, on the Wellness Rewards page on the Embrace website.

Say cheese!

Related Posts
February is National Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Does Pet Insurance Cover Dental Cleanings and Illness?
Podcast: Dr Patrick Mahaney on Pet Dental Health
Guest Post: the importance of dental x-rays for your pets
Claim Example: traumatic injury to Bernese Mountain Dog tooth
An alternative to brushing your dog's teeth?