Quick Look: Pet insurance is becoming a popular voluntary benefit, as more millennials are delaying having children, or forgoing children all together in favor of a four-legged family member. While benefits like healthcare and paid time-off are vital in keeping employees happy, offering this perk could be a big differentiator to attract younger talent.
Looking for a leg up to meet the changing demands of younger employees? Pet insurance is the latest employee benefit trend you should be paying attention to.
Studies have shown more millennials—who currently make up the largest part of the American workforce—are choosing to become pet-owners rather than parents. And such, are interested in more pet-friendly job perks than any previous generation, including wanting to work for employers who view their pets with equal respect, and offer benefits like health insurance to prove it.
What makes pet insurance so enticing for younger employees?
Millennials have tended to delay large life commitments and financial decisions, giving them more time and money to spend on their fur babies—approximately $3,400 each year according to Rover.com. Offering pet insurance is an enticing option for this new generation who have formed unique emotional attachments with their pets.
A new survey from TD Ameritrade reveals the impact pets have had on young pet parents:
- Most millennials (67%) see their pet as part of the family and would refer to them as a “fur baby.”
- A majority of millennial pet owners (68%) would take leave from work to care for a new pet if their employer offered it.
- If their pet falls ill, millennials are ready to spend an average of nearly $2,000 for the animal’s medical care. One in 10 said they are prepared to spend upwards of $10,000 on a sick pet.
But pet ownership comes with high costs, and this is where employers can make an impact and offer a competitive advantage.
Pet insurance premiums reached almost $2 billion this year, with the five most common claims being skin issues, gastrointestinal issues, ear infections, seizures, and urinary tract infections (UTIs). Although many policies cover standard wellness exams, shots, chronic conditions, and acute injuries and illnesses, coverage will vary plan to plan.
Attracting and retaining millennial talent
In 2021, more than 47 million Americans quit their jobs. As a result, many employers are reevaluating their benefits offerings to stay competitive and attractive. A recent article by The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) revealed that 70% of employees who are eligible for benefits say that they are more likely to work for an employer that offers voluntary benefits.
While voluntary benefits like pet insurance were once considered a “nice to have” by employers and employees, even more studies have shown that voluntary benefits are now must haves. However, these benefits can be costly for small employers to obtain on their own. Luckily, that’s why working with a professional employer organization (PEO) makes sense. Factors such as negotiated group rates, fixed-cost, multi-year plans, and employer contributions all provide employees coverage at a less expensive rate when working with a PEO partner than if they were to seek the same benefits on their own.
Further, 72% of employees say that the more benefits they receive, the happier they are at their jobs. And since millennials are currently the largest segment of workers in the U.S., pet insurance can be just the added benefit to keep them happy, engaged, and retained.
Consider these additional facts:
- 45% of millennial employees state they would be motivated to stay at a company if it offered pet-related benefits
- Over 50% of working pet parents say their current employers do not offer adequate pet benefits, and it’s directly impacting their decision to either stay or quit and find a new job
- Employee interest in pet insurance plans rose 5% from 2020 to 2021, according to MetLife’s 2021 Employee Benefit Trends report
- 70% of employees report they don’t have access to pet insurance through their employers, but 30% said having those benefits would convince them to stay with their current organization
- 29% of employees would like paid time off to care for a pet, while 14% would take a “paw-ternity” leave if offered
In an interview with HRDive, Rob Jackson, CEO of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance and Foundation, discussed the cost benefits for both employers and employees: “The pet insurance coverage employees get through their employer will be the exact same coverage as if they had purchased it on their own. The only difference is employers are often able to negotiate better rates for their employees.”
Can I claim my pet as a dependent?
As much as we love our animals, the answer is no. But partnering with a PEO company can help lower potential veterinary claims through pet insurance. Working with a PEO gives employers access to cost-effective, modern employee benefit plans and a wide variety of voluntary offerings. Plus, PEOs routinely monitor new trends and benefits so you don’t have to.
Some voluntary benefits, like pet insurance, a PEO partner can provide include:
- Telehealth programs
- Financial and legal advisement programs
- Identity theft protection
- Home and auto insurance
- Accident and illness plans
- Supplemental life insurance
Throw your employees a bone
Offering cost-effective voluntary benefits like pet insurance can be a great way to show your younger workforce that you understand their lifestyle and appeal. It can also help to recruit and retain younger employees, while making sure they feel supported in and outside of the workplace.
While these added perks can seem costly, exploring a PEO partnership can help offer better choices and better plan designs at better prices. Get in touch with our HR and benefits experts to learn how.