Northern Nevada pet insurance industry continues to grow
June 6, 2016
RENO, Nev. — Rising pet health care costs and advances in veterinary services mean treatment for unexpected illness or injury could cost 70 percent more than it would have five years ago, according to Healthy Paws Pet Insurance's website.
Embrace Pet Insurance's site, meanwhile, explains that veterinary fees increased 85 percent between January 2000 and December 2011. During that same time, the overall consumer price index (CPI) rose just 31 percent. This rate means veterinary fees could double every 13 years, which is faster than salaries can catch up.
"We do recommend (pet insurance) to people, because just like with people, you want to be able to provide for your pet in a time of need, and veterinary care can be expensive for any budget," Kimberly Wade, senior manager of communications and events at the Nevada Humane Society, said in an email interview.
The Nevada Humane Society offers pet insurance through their shelter software. It is set up as a one month trial at the time of adoption. From there it is up to the adopter to purchase any further insurance.
Pet insurance has existed worldwide since the early 1900s. Lassie, the famous television collie, received the first pet insurance policy in the United States in 1982, according to North America Pet Health Insurance Association's (NAPHIA) website.
NAPHIA estimates the value of the North American pet insurance market to be $660.5 million.
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NAPHIA's 2015 state of the industry report indicated over 1.4 million pets to be insured in North America at the end of 2014 with average premiums for all accident and illness plans being $36.08 per month.
The bureau of labor statistics indicated that as of May 2015 Nevada employment of veterinarians was 580 with a mean wage of $91,950.
So, with the advancements in pet care and increasing cost, how does pet insurance work? First there is a quote and the choice of coverage, whether accident only, accident and illness, or variations depending on desired pet coverage. A monthly rate is formulated based on age, breed, zip code, reimbursement level and yearly deductible.
Once insurance is acquired, Pets Best's website explains using it in three steps: First, get treatment from any veterinarian, anywhere when the pet is ill or injured.
Second, file a claim, and third, get reimbursed. So while expense is still incurred up front, the coverage allows reimbursement for treatment.
NAPHIA indicates that 12 providers of pet insurance in North America make up more than 99 percent of the market. A large amount of the information regarding pet insurance is comprehensive and far-reaching.
There is growing maturity and stability in this industry as the development appears to be out pacing other, more traditional, insurance categories.