Reimagining pet insurance: Winning solutions to the Pet Insurance Adoption Idea Challenge

Only 3% of pets in the US are covered by pet insurance. How can we as a profession help boost that number so that cost ceases to be a major barrier to care?

That’s the question that inspired the Pet Insurance Adoption Idea Challenge: To come up with ways to create an insurance product that pet owners would view as a necessity instead of a luxury.

Our readers respond

Since the Pet Insurance Adoption Idea Challenge launched last month, more than 60 of you submitted ideas.  Veterinary team members from both AAHA and non-AAHA hospitals offered up their suggestions for revamping pet insurance products and inspiring the industry to adopt new ideas—as well as getting pet owners to think differently about pet insurance—so more owners can access products and get their pets the care they deserve.

Many of your ideas were good. A few were inspired.

Each idea was evaluated based on set criteria and winners were selected. First-place winners were rewarded with a cash prize of $500—with runners-up each receiving $250.

Check out the winning ideas below.

1st place - Make it easier for clients to sign up while they wait

Submitted by Meghan S. Bingham, CVPM, Senior Operations Manager at Valley Veterinary Care in Houston, Texas:

 “Our clinics have teamed up with PAWlicy, which has been great. Our clinic staff is not in the insurance business, but we fully believe that the more pets with insurance, the greater care they'll receive. I think if a tablet was provided to clients while they wait for their appointments, the client could connect with a service like PAWlicy to price shop and compare policies. If a client found a policy they liked, they could sign up immediately, and as an incentive, their pet would receive their exam free that day.” Read more.

 2nd place - Appoint a staff insurance specialist

Submitted by Mark Thompson, DVM, MBA, CCRP, Owner/Hospital Director at AAHA-accredited Country Hills Pet Hospital in Eden, Wisconsin:

“Veterinary clinics can employ an individual that would specialize in pet insurance education.  This employee would float into each client visit to introduce pet insurance, answer questions, and provide the practice with an insurance specialist to handle questions, claims submission, or preapproval issues. Read more.

3rd Place (tie) - How to insure more pets

Submitted by Leisha Eppink, practice manager at AAHA-accredited Animal Medical Center of Wyoming in Wyoming, Michigan:

“How do we increase the number of insured pets? The solution is multi-faceted, not singular. And it’s proactive, not reactive.  Read more.

3rd place (tie) - Work with pet insurance companies to change how claims are paid

Submitted by Daniel Howland, Hospital Manager, Brentwood Family Pet Care in Brentwood, California:

“I believe in pet insurance 100%. I’ve witnessed the benefit of it more times than I can count. Clients have been able to pay for life-saving procedures and even just things that increase the quality of life for their pets because they had insurance.

To me, the main reason so few clients have pet insurance is that the companies themselves are still operating under an old, outdated business model. On the human side, most people are able to go to their doctor and get treatment/surgery because they have insurance and ONLY pay the copay. Most pet insurance companies still require people to pay for everything out of pocket. Read more.

Congratulations to all the winners! Here’s hoping their ideas will inspire positive change in the way pet owners think about insurance.

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