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How Brokers Can Help Clients Offer Employer-Sponsored Pet Insurance

Quick look: Nearly 70% of U.S. households own a pet, and 30% of employees say offering pet insurance would either make them consider staying at a company or inspire them to switch to one that does. Here’s what you need to know about pet insurance, including its benefits to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and how to add it to your broker toolkit.

If you’re looking for the next employee benefit to add to your portfolio, pet insurance could be the answer. According to Pew Research, 66% of Americans own a pet, and a similar share of U.S. workers say they’re more likely to work somewhere that offers voluntary benefits, making pet insurance a potentially very valuable perk to pitch to clients.

Let’s examine the pet insurance industry in more detail and consider three key advantages your SMB clients could experience by offering this coverage to their employees.

How does pet insurance work?

What’s covered by a pet insurance policy depends on the specific plan.

Most comprehensive policies cover wellness exams, shots, chronic conditions, and acute injuries and illnesses. These plans are helpful, but expensive veterinary bills can still occur if a pet faces severe medical problems. For those situations, policies also exist that cover accidents, severe illness, and hereditary conditions, as well as basic care like flea prevention.

The North American Pet Health Insurance Association estimates that 5.36 million American pets are insured, with the total amount of in-force growth written premiums surpassing $3 billion. The most common pet insurance claims for dogs and cats include:

  1. Skin issues
  2. Urinary tract infections
  3. Gastrointestinal issues
  4. Ear infections
  5. Upper respiratory infections

The need for—and rise of—employer-sponsored pet insurance

While 66% of U.S. families own a pet, only approximately 4% of dogs and 1% of cats are insured, and it’s estimated that every six seconds a pet owner receives a bill of $1,000 or more. Further, the annual cost for pet care is almost $1,400 for a dog and over $1,100 for a cat.

It seems employers have noticed the financial strain that furry family members can cause. The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that pet insurance as an employee benefit is rising in popularity, with 19% of organizations now offering coverage (versus 14% in 2022).

These statistics demonstrate that the pet insurance market is ripe with opportunity for brokers looking to align clients with low-cost, high-impact voluntary benefit plans.

3 benefits of pet insurance for employers

While pet insurance focuses on keeping our four-legged friends healthy (and their parents’ bills low), it can benefit the employers that offer it, too. Here’s how:

1. Improve talent acquisition and retention

Pet insurance can provide the appeal employers need to win over job candidates and retain their current workforce. Almost three-quarters of workers report that they become happier at their jobs when they receive more benefits. Further, 30% of employees said having pet insurance benefits would convince them to stay with their current organization (or leave for an employer that does offer them).

If your clients are looking to embrace pet-related benefits fully, they can offer options beyond insurance. According to a Nationwide survey, 29% of employees would like paid time off to care for a pet, 27% would like a pet-friendly office environment, and 14% would like the chance to take a “paw-ternity” leave after they’ve adopted a new four-legged friend.

2. De-stress employees

Recent research found that burnout among desk-based staff is at an all-time high since spring 2021, with 42% of employees reporting being burned out.

Pets can help. Having a furry friend in your life can directly improve both your physical and mental health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that pets encourage people to exercise, go outside, and socialize. Pet ownership is also linked to decreased blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and can help people manage depression and anxiety.

In addition to the advantages that pet ownership offers, pet insurance can also help ease people’s minds. Employees are more likely to focus and relax at work when they know they have an insurance policy in place that will enable them to provide their pets with affordable, high-quality care when the need arises.

3. Strengthen company culture

Pet insurance also allows small businesses to offer a benefit that aligns with their corporate values and can boost their company culture. By providing access to affordable pet care, employers tell their workforce, “I care about your entire family, I care about your life, and I care about your wallet.”

Businesses can extend their pet-friendly stance by establishing pet owner clubs, hosting pet-friendly company events, providing pet-related corporate swag, or donating and matching employee donations to local animal rescue organizations.

Help make a “pawsitive” change

More and more workers are looking to access pet insurance policies through their employers, and brokers can help. By partnering with a professional employer organization (PEO) like ExtensisHR, you can offer your clients access to affordable, top-rated pet insurance plans, as well as other free and low-cost benefits like telemedicine, employee assistance programs (EAPs), and more.

Additionally, ExtensisHR’s employee benefits experts provide comprehensive planning, administration, and management services, and its customer support team offers what other PEOs can’t: a human response in mere seconds.

Ready to help your clients put their best paws forward and get their employees’ tails wagging? Contact ExtensisHR to discover how you can add pet insurance to your toolkit.

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