November is Winter/Holiday Dangers Month

My attempt at winterizing Kayden for the
polar vortex in 2014.

Even if we can manage to ignore the holiday music and candy in stores and the ramping up to black Friday sales, it’s impossible to ignore the real signs of impending winter. Cooler, shorter days and bare trees have us breaking out the dog coats while our pets fight over the sunny window napping spots.

With winter weather and the holidays, we certainly see changes in the types of claims that roll in. Everything from ice-induced lacerations, cats injured in car engines, and turkey and stuffing overload can send our pets to the emergency vet. As always, we hope expert articles will provide some gentle advice on how to safely enjoy the holidays and long winter months that follow:

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2014 Claims System Updates

At Embrace, we are always looking for ways to improve your experience, whether it be doing things faster, with fewer errors, or just to make you go “wow.” As part of that process, we recently launched our new claims system and I wanted to go over the benefits of the new system and the status of the implementation.

The benefits of our new system are many:

  • Faster and more efficient processing - our goal is to process 95% of all claims within 2 days of receiving all the info (compared to the 5-10 days we were at before the new system)
  • More efficient collection of medical information - effectively gathering the medical history, and knowing when you have it all, is a surprisingly complex process given veterinary records are rarely electronic and certainly not coded like in the human world
  • Fewer errors - for example, always noticing when we have a claim form for Fluffy but an invoice for Fido, or always noticing when a pet parent is notifying us of an address change when filing a claim, and
  • More transparent online view of your claims status – your status looks more like tracking a Fedex package with regular updates of where things are at rather than the static view we had before

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Dilemma: Premiums increase as pets age

The saying “better with age” applies to wine and fine cheeses, but probably has never been said about pet insurance premiums. While Embrace will never reduce the coverage for aging pets, the premiums do go up a bit each year as our pets get older to account for the increasing risk of illness. While it’s good news that your coverage remains reliable even as your pet’s health begins to decline, the increase serves as more than just a reminder that your pet is getting on in years and can have some pet parents reconsidering the cost-benefit of their coverage.

Ditto - BeagleDitto - 2006

This was the case for the pet parent of Ditto, a 10 year old Beagle originally from Cleveland, OH and now living in Seattle, WA. Ditto was one of the first Embraced pets back in 2006 and we enjoyed getting photos and updates from this young lady. Fast forward to 2014 and Ditto’s rates have increased, despite her being relatively healthy. Her most recent increase was roughly 20%, an increase her pet parent felt was “steep” and he wrote in looking for advice on what to do with her coverage. While hesitant to drop the coverage, he seemed to wonder if it made sense to continue with the current coverage as is.

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Podcast: Talking Kids and Pets with Dr. Patrick Mahaney

Most folks agree that there’s nothing sweeter than kids with pets, but it’s not always easy to have both. Many of us at Embrace have both four and two legged little ones at home, and we know that the balance can be a bit tricky sometimes. Managing everyone’s’ needs for exercise, care, and attention, while integrating animals and children safely requires some skill. We’ve checked in with Dr. Mahaney to help you keep everyone happy, healthy, and safe.

Dr. Mahaney helps us with the following questions:

  • What's the best way to build positive experiences for kids to help them reduce their fears surrounding pets?
  • Are there any illnesses parents should be worried about kids passing to pets or vice versa?
  • What's the best way to get a pup ready for new baby?
  • Any good tricks to keep the dogs from swiping the baby's toys besides the obvious solution of storage? A lot of them squeak the same.
  • What is your best advice for teaching kids and pets how to be "gentle" with each other, while encouraging interaction?

Click on the link below to hear the audio:

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Guest post: Childhood and Pets….they just go together

I am now coming up on my double nickel birthday, 55. Wow, how did that happen? Time surely flies. When I look back, I tend to divide my life into sections, according to the dog I had at that time. Animals live your life; they age with you; they share your special moments. In my grade school days there was Tuffy, a reported purebred Fox Terrier that grew up to be a 50 pound version of a yellow Lab. (Funny, the breeder moved out of town a week after they sold Tuffy to my Dad. Hmm….) In my high school days, it was Yankee Boy, an abandoned Pekingese, a feisty little guy that my brother saved from a vet’s boarding kennel. Finally, in my college days I had Stewy and Ryan, two strays that patiently endured my many examinations as I progressed through vet school. I could not imagine my childhood and early adulthood without those pets. They were my friends. They understood me. They brought so much happiness to my life.

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