August 09, 2012
Since we are pondering on all things to do with the Olympics, here's a very British breed, the Welsh Corgi.
Actually, there are two different kinds of Welsh Corgis: the Cardigan Welsh Corgi and the Pembroke Welsh Corgi. What's the difference?
According to the Embrace breed profile for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi:
The Cardigan is the Corgi with the tail but he stands out from his cousin, the Pembroke Welsh Corgi, in other ways, including his larger, more rounded ears and wide variety of colors. His weight ranges from 25 to 38 pounds, making him a little larger than the Pembroke as well.
Although the Cardigan and Pembroke Welsh Corgis were both developed in Wales and share the name Corgi, they have different ancestry: twin sons of different mothers, you might say. The Cardigan, nick-named the yard-long dog in his home shire of Cardigan, shares ancestors with another long breed, the Dachshund. Unlike the Dachshund, the Cardi was used to drive cattle by nipping at their heels. Today he’s a companion and show dog, but he still has strong herding instincts.
And from Wikipedia about Pembroke Welsh Corgis:
The Pembroke Welsh Corgi lineage has been traced back as far as 1107 AD. It is said that the Vikings and Flemish weavers brought the dogs with them as they traveled to reside in Wales. As far back as the 10th century, Corgis were herding sheep, geese, ducks, horses and cattle as one of the oldest herding breed of dogs. Pembrokes have proven themselves as excellent companions and are outstanding competitors in sheepdog trials and dog agility.
And you probably already know that the Queen of England is a longtime owner and breeder of Pembroke Welsh Corgis.
Both Welsh Corgis are pretty healthy breeds in general. Some health conditions that have been seen in the breed are hip dysplasia, intervertebral disc disease and eye problems such as progressive retinal atrophy (PRA).
One of the fun dog blogs that I love is The Daily Corgi. If you are a corgi fan, you can immerse yourself in all things Corgi there.
And finally, for me, the highlight of the 2012 Olympic Games Opening ceremonies was James Bond and the Queen making their entrance with special guests, the Queen's corgis playing themselves. No stunt doubles required. Enjoy!
August is Olympics Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Michael Phelps strikes gold with his dogs
Guest Post: Animal Olympics
Breed Profile: Welsh Corgi
Guest Post: Olympians and their breeds
August 08, 2012
Have you been watching the Olympics with your pets? Dr Riggs is a big fan of the Olympic Games and that led him to ponder - what if animals were allowed in the Olympics?
I love the Olympics! Maybe I am a naive optimist, but it seems the only time the world gets together and is as one. Seeing all the athletes of the world in one place congratulating each other, laughing with other athletes of countries with opposing political and religious ideals… makes me wonder. Hmm… Yes, well, back to the blog.
It is amazing to see the athleticism of all the athletes. The amazing speed and grace of American’s Micheal Phelps, Missy Franklin and China’s Sun Yang.The phenomenal courage and skill of the gymnasts. How do they get the guts to do the things they do??? I am in awe every time I see the smoothness and apparent ease of Usain Bolt breaking another world record. What about the tiny weightlifters who clean and jerk three times their body weight over their head? The endurance of the cyclists blows me away. It is a testament to their dedication, hard work and skill. Their accomplishments are to be commended.
But… what if?
What if… our animal friends could compete right along our Olympic athletes? Well… the the size of the medal podiums would need to change to accommodate, not just 2, but at least four feet!
So let’s see how animals would measure up to our Olympians:
- Michael Phelps in his fastest event, the 100m freestyle, reaches a top speed of 4.7 mph. An Orca (killer whale) reaches speeds of 30mph and a Sail fin swims up to 65mph!
- Usain Bolts runs a blistering top speed of 23 mph, paling in comparison to the Greyhound’s 30mph and the Cheetahs top speed of 70 mph
- The high jump world record is 8 ft 3 inches. A cat can jump 10 feet from a standing start, so if you compare the length of a typical cat at 1ft 6 inches to a 6 foot man that would equate to 39 feet
- Mike Powell holds the world record long jump at 29 feet 3 inches. He would be spitting into the wind, if he had to compete against our arch enemy the flea. A flea can jump 38 times its length, which means Powell would need to jump 228 feet just to be in the medal hunt!
So as impressive as the athletes are… animals would put us to shame.
Just to finish off, here are a few events I suggest if our cats and dogs begin to compete.
Synchronized Tail Wagging
Tennis Ball Holding
August is Olympics Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Michael Phelps strikes gold with his dogs
Guest Post: Animal Olympics
Breed Profile: Welsh Corgi
Guest Post: Olympians and their breeds
Other posts by Dr Riggs
July 19, 2012
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
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.
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.
Chief Embracer & Co-Founder
Embrace Pet Insurance
January 03, 2012
Did you know that that spending on pets in 2011 topped $50 billion for the first time? That's a lot of dog collars, don't you think!
Actually, we spend on everything from pet accessories and food to veterinary care and services such as boarding and pet sitting. To put $50 billion in perspective, the pet industry tops the book publishing ($31 billion) and women’s clothing ($41 billion) industries by a healthy margin.
Want to know what is driving pet spending in 2012? Hop on over to the Embrace site for an in-depth look at pet-related trends for 2012.
Pet Industry Trends 2012
Pet Industry Trends 2011
Pet Industry Trends 2010
Pet Industry Trends 2009
Pet Industry Trends 2008
Pet Industry Trends 2007
Pet Industry Trends 2006
About the author: Laura Bennett FSA CFA is the CEO and Co-Founder of Embrace Pet Insurance. Her career working in the insurance industry has taken her from Toronto, Canada and Dublin Ireland to the US, where she obtained her MBA from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Laura was the first pet insurance actuary in the United States and was named to the Society of Actuaries Top 100 Actuarial Pioneers for her ground-breaking work in pet insurance. Laura strongly believes in furthering awareness of pet insurance across North America and leads that work in her third year as Chairman of the Board of NAPHIA, the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Laura also writes a blog on pet-related issues, the Embrace Pet Insurance blog.
May 26, 2011
Have you been wondering recently why your veterinary care feels like it costs so much more than it used to? You are not alone.
I was digging into the inflation numbers over at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and I was fascinated by the difference between veterinary inflation (yes, they do track such a thing!) and the consumer price inflation.
For example (see graph below), if I look at January 2007 to March 2011 (just about as long as we've been selling pet insurance policies), while my wages went up 10% over that time (yay!), my vet bills went up 25% in the same period (ouch!). Vet bills are definitely taking up more of a bite out of my free cash than they used to.
You can clearly see the impact of the Great Recession in the second half of 2008 in the CPI, with the year's inflation being practically zero (-0.1%); however, veterinary inflation chugged along at 7% that year and didn't slow down until 2009.
Another point to note, the Consumer Price Index is defined as the change in the prices paid by urban consumers for a representative basket of goods and services and Veterinary Services are just a subset of those goods and services. The representative basket of goods is based on typical family spending in 2007/2008 so changes in the types of veterinary services (such as more TPLO surgeries or MRIs) are not reflected.
So chances are, as veterinary medicine has grown in the last 3 years, and more complex and more costly procedures are more common, your veterinary spending increases are even more than those shown above.
It's amazing we can afford our cats and dogs at all, don't you think?
If you are wondering what impact veterinary inflation has on pet insurance premiums, check out my blog post on how inflation and other factors affect pet insurance premiums using Trupanion as a case study.
Just for fun, here's another graph for 2001 - 2011. It really shows the bite into your household income over the last 10 years.
For the data hounds out there, you can find the data on the BLS website:
- CPI - All Items US City Average Seasonally Adjusted
- Veterinary Inflation - Veterinary Services US City Average Seasonally Adjusted????
February 03, 2011
We insure a lot of Italian Greyhounds and love it when people send in pictures for us to share. They are fun and loyal dogs, who don't know their own small size.
Since it is Pet Dental Health Month at Embrace, I thought it would be appropriate to feature a toy dog breed because of the tendency to have dental issues in the smaller dogs.
From our Pet Health Center:
Grooming couldn't be easier: an occasional soft brushing to keep shedding from becoming a problem, along with keeping the nails trimmed and the ears clean, and you're done.
Training is another story. While they're tractable and loving people-magnets, they're also stubborn and a bit defiant – and very creative at showing their displeasure. Unlike some very small dogs nipping and barking aren't big problems, but housetraining definitely is. Use gentle, consistent training and establish acceptable routines from the very beginning, or you might find yourself with a problem.
Italian Greyhounds are also prone to a number of health issues, including oral health issues and broken leg bones (they dont' know spindly their own legs are!)
Here's a summary of other issues affecting IGs:
Has your Italian Greyhound had any of these health issues?
February is Dental Health Month at Embrace Pet Insurance
Guest Post: top five ways to know if your dog needs a dental
Breed Focus: Italian Greyhound
How to brush your dog's teeth - an Embraced pet parent shows how she does it
Claim Example: dental cleaning and extractions
Guest Post: Preventing Pet Periodontal Disease
April 20, 2010
We take our jobs very seriously here at Embrace but every now and then, we have a laugh at ourselves to keep our feet on the ground.
So, here's a little pet insurance inside humor from our claims department, for those of you who live your lives day in, day out buried in pet insurance claims.
You know you are in the Embrace Pet Insurance Claims Department when...
- ...people tell you about their pet's illness stories (at work or away) and your first thoughts are all of the things that would be excluded in a medical history review
- ...you want to scream from the rooftops to get an orthopedic waiver done
- ...the electronic fax queue has an enormous file in it and you are praying it’s medical history for a claim you’re working on
- ...you become proud of yourself for being able to read the worst handwriting in the world
- ...a breed of dog is mentioned and you begin listing all of the genetic issues they have in your head
- ...your thoughts are constantly centered around how to increase productivity & efficiency, in the office or at home
- ...the term “applied to Continuing Care” makes you cringe
- ...you’re more familiar with Microsoft Excel than Microsoft Word
- ...it no longer surprises you what a pet will eat
- ...you compete with yourself every day to see how many claims you can process
- ...you see a bulldog owner and automatically offer them your card or an Embrace brochure
For those of you with other pet insurers, please add your own in the comments. Don't worry, I won't tell your boss you wrote on my blog :)
April 01, 2010
Embrace is tapping into the world of fish parents who care for the 75 million goldfish in America
Mayfield Village, OH – Embrace Pet Insurance swims against the tide, adding goldfish health insurance coverage to its customizable product range.
Now that Embrace Pet Insurance is intimately familiar with the cat and dog health insurance market in the US, the company is leveraging its actuarial and insurance knowledge and is announcing its new customizable goldfish insurance product.
Laura Bennett, Embrace co-founder and the only goldfish insurance actuary in the US, explains the rational for such a move. “Goldfish might seem to be one dimensional and unfeeling pets to the uninitiated, but underneath their scaly exterior, they really have a heart of gold. Those who welcome goldfish into their family reap a lifetime of emotion from these loving pets.”
Bennett developed goldfish mortality and morbidity actuarial tables based on her own lifetime of experience raising the domesticated fish. “Yes, there’s a large drop off when you bring them home from the fair, but if they survive the initial shock, they settle in quite well. I loved many goldfish in our house growing up. I particularly remember my third goldfish, Jonathan, who lived to the ripe old age of 12 years. I’m sure he would have lived several years longer if our cat Lily hadn’t finally found out that cats aren’t actually allergic to water. That was a very sad day in our household.”
Embrace goldfish insurance covers hereditary conditions such as swim bladder and telescopic eye problem (as long as they aren’t showing clinical signs before you purchase your insurance). The insurance also covers a variety of treatments for goldfish illnesses, from antibiotics for dropsy, to weight reduction programs for overfeeding, to amputation surgery for fin rot.
Bennett says “Most people have no idea how expensive it can be to treat some of these every-day conditions. Fin amputation surgeries can range anywhere from $500 using aquarium sedatives, a fish net, and a pair of nail scissors, to $15,000 for a board certified specialist using a specialized breathing table developed for fish. Gone are the days of flushing a goldfish down the toilet (also known as economic euthanasia). Veterinarians can do so much more for goldfish than they used to, even 5 years ago.”
Goldfish premium rates range from as little as $2 up to $56 a month and are based on a number of factors such as fish age (have your veterinarian give you an estimate if you aren’t sure of your goldfish’s exact date of birth), location (fish vets in NY city are so much more expensive than those in Fargo MN); and breed (the overbred Ekoj hybrid is particularly sickly) all affect the premium. You can also get a multi-pet discount, although having a family cat dramatically increases the rate.
If you love your goldfish as much as we do, Embrace Pet Insurance recommends goldfish insurance for your finned friends. It’s the one thing you can’t buy when you need it. To explore your goldfish insurance options, call 800-511-9172, or go to www.embracepetinsurance.com for a customized quote.
# # #
About Embrace Pet Insurance
Embrace Pet Insurance Agency LLC is a specialist insurance agency headquartered in Mayfield Village, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio. Embrace was founded by Laura Bennett and Alex Krooglik, pet parents who also happen to be insurance experts, and offers self-serve, customizable pet health insurance for dogs and cats, and now goldfish. All goldfish policies are underwritten by Carp Health Assurance Company. Embrace is based on the core values of innovation and not taking oneself too seriously. On the web at Embrace Pet Insurance and the Embrace Pet Insurance blog.
Addendum: if you didn't notice by now, this was posted on April Fool's Day. Just a little pet insurance humor for the day :)
November 23, 2009
Perhaps we shouldn't order the milk-bone flavored paper anymore? Within the last 2 weeks, we received these 2 emails:
Sorry for the delay. I had every intention on signing that paperwork and sending it back, except I really believe that my dog ate it. I know I know, that excuse doesn't even fly with grade schoolers, but I found little bits of it and half of an envelope. Would it be posible for you to remail it or email it to me again. Thanks.
Thank you so much for checking on the check. :)
We DID receive it but then my husband left it on the table and, this is true, the dog chewed it up. The puppy decided that since it was for his vet. services, it was his check to destroy!
Would it be possible to tear the check up completely and be reissued a new one or perhaps to do the instructions below and setup our account for direct deposit?
Thanks again...you guys have been so wonderful!!!
Dog ate your Embrace paperwork anyone?
November 02, 2009
Back before Embrace Pet Insurance was but a twinkle in my eye, I knew something about pet health (it's hard not to learn with a dog and at least 4 cats in the house at any one time as a kid) but nothing like I know now.
One area I was particularly weak on was canine orthopedic conditions. For some reason, our dogs never had issues with their hips, knees, or elbows, which we're very grateful for so I never had to learn from experience.
But at Embrace, I've learnt quickly. I'd say that orthopedic conditions are our number one category of claim by amount. For example, in the first half of 2009, as a percentage of total claimed amounts at Embrace:
Wow - nearly 20% of our claims were from just 3 orthopedic conditions!
These are interesting stats, particularly if you are considering different pet insurance policies for your dog. All of these conditions, cruciate ligaments included, are considered genetic in origin, meaning that they are inherited conditions (also known as breed-specific conditions as some breeds are more prone than others for getting certain conditions.)
So, if you want pet health insurance coverage for conditions your mixed or purebred dog is likely to get, you better get a policy that covers hereditary conditions, such as one from Embrace.
Since this type of claim is so important in the grand scheme of things, November is Orthopedic Month at the Embrace blog. I'll explore orthopedic issues in a series of articles from a number of different perspectives. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.
Oh, and be sure to let me know if you have any particular orthopedic topics you'd like to cover and I'll make sure to address as many as I can throughout the month.
How much did you say a ruptured cruciate ligament cost to treat in my dog?
$3,449 claim: Rottweiler with hip dysplasia has ACL repair
Hip dysplasia in dogs (and cats)
What happens when my dog's cruciate ligament tears?
Ski - a dog who recovered from a cruciate ligament injury without surgery