3 misunderstandings about pet health insurance

Posted by Kodi Churchill on Aug 1, 2017 8:41:25 AM

If your practice is still unsure about whether to promote pet health insurance, you may run into a few false facts during your research. The truth is, pet health insurance is beneficial to your practice, your clients and most importantly, your patients. Here’s the truth behind three misconceptions about pet health insurance.

  1. My clients will just call the pet insurance veterinarian help line for medical advice and not visit my practice. Let’s dispel this myth right now: pet insurance will not make your client stop calling and visiting your practice. According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA), dog owners spend an average of 29% more per year on veterinary care and cat owners spend 81% more per year on veterinary care when they have pet insurance. After surveying veterinarians, they learned there are three areas which pet health insurances benefits the practice the most; it increases the compliance on recommendations, increases purchases of veterinary services and increases the overall health expenditures on pets.*

  2. I’m not a sales person. It’s not my job to talk clients into signing-up for pet insurance. As someone in the pet health industry, it is your job and responsibility to put your patients’ health first. If informing your clients about pet insurance can play a significant role in a pet’s treatment plan, this should be a no-brainer. You’re not trying to sell them insurance, but it is your job to inform them about it. The NAPHIA recommends these following tips when talking to your clients about pet insurance:
    1. Appoint one or two specialists. Not everyone in your practice has time to learn everything about pet insurance, but they should know the basics. Appointing a few people in your practice who are interested in the product, believe in it, and who are familiar with the different brands, could provide your client reassurance and be the go-to person when there are additional questions.
    2. Determine what client is the best “target” for pet insurance and find out who already has it. The NAPHIA suggests asking pet parents for their pet insurance information when they call to schedule an appointment or arrive at the front desk. If you offer your clients a mobile app, have them upload their pet insurance information in their pet profile. Asking everyone about pet insurance will give you an idea on who has coverage, provides you their insurance information to keep on file, and can be a conversation starter to those clients who do not have insurance. Most pet insurance is purchased within the first year of adoption/ownership and after the pet’s first visit to a veterinarian. Clients are 35% more likely to purchase pet insurance within the first week, 36% more likely to purchase pet insurance during the first six months of ownership, 16% after their first visit to a veterinarian, 12% when their veterinarian recommends it and 8% when they enroll another pet in pet insurance.
  1. My practice believes in pet health insurance, but my clients still don’t think it’s important. If you are “all-in” and are promoting it correctly, your clients will find insurance important as well. The NAPHIA found that 50% more pet owners would purchase pet insurance if their practice actively recommended it, so if you’re not all in, your clients will not be either. How can your practice better promote pet health insurance?
    1. Offer it to your employees. NAPHIA states that almost all practice employees have a pet at home, so why not offer them the best care? Plus, offering pet health insurance as part of an employee benefit has been all over the news lately. According to Nationwide Pet Insurance, it is one of the fastest-growing voluntary benefits in the U.S., with more than 5,000 companies and organizations adding Nationwide Pet Insurance to their benefits list. Plus, if you offer your practice employees this benefit, you may actually save money since the employee pets can be charged at regular price rather than at discount price. Most importantly though, it offers your entire team the belief in pet health insurance.
    2. Provide pet health insurance information such as flyers and brochures while clients are at your office. Going through it with them is important so you can answer questions they may have and be sure to give them take-aways to review at home later. This includes a brochure of a few pet insurance companies and maybe a practice-branded one sheeter with your personal recommendations.
    3. Choose one or two pet health insurance companies you’d like to recommend. Your clients rely on you to do the research, so look into the companies you think would most benefit your clients and offer them as a recommended pet insurance option.
    4. Market your belief in pet health insurance through your social media pages, on your website and even in your on-hold message.

Adding pet health insurance as a topic of discussion at annual pet wellness exams goes hand-in-hand with the importance of preventatives like heartworm and flea medication, blood work and even dental exams. After all, they’re all there to help prevent or cushion your client if something unexpected happens to their pet.


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*National American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) information provided from "Pet Insurance Best Practices Guide for Veterinary Teams" report.



Topics: Grow Your Veterinary Practice, For Practice Managers