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From the Front Lines: Equine

"Horse insurance is unique in that it involves both a significant financial and emotional investment," says independent agent Laura Connaway. "The bond our customers have with their horses is very special, so when a horse is ill or injured, it can be a very nerve-racking experience."
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From the Front Lines: EquineLaura Connaway

Founder and President

Connaway Associates Equine Insurance Services Inc.

Little Rock, Arkansas

How did you get started at your agency?

Years ago, when I would go to insure my horses, I had no idea who the person was sitting behind the desk. If you had a problem, you could call, but they might not be able to ans­wer your questions or they might not take your call. I thought it would be great if there was someone in the insurance industry who knew the sport and answered your questions face to face.

For our agency, equine insurance encompasses not only insuring horses themselves but also horse farms and liability associated with owning a horse or a horse-related business.

Why equine?

I am a fourth-generation horsewoman. Horses have always been a passion and part of my life. It was only natural to pursue a career that involves horses and horse farms, so I got my property-casualty license and began working for an insurance agent in the equine industry. Two years later, I started my own agency.

Challenges in the equine market?

Equine insurance is very nuanced and it's evolving all of the time, so various specialties within the industry have developed over time. Our agency specializes in sport and performance horses.

Horse insurance is unique in that it involves both a significant financial and emotional investment. The bond our customers have with their horses is very special, so when a horse is ill or injured, it can be a very nerve-racking experience.

By using the latest innovative technologies, we are able to provide better service to our customers. Generally, our customers travel extensively, so we are able to provide them with the information they need quickly, wherever they are located.

Future trends? 

The horse insurance industry is very dynamic. The use of advanced diagnostic equipment and therapeutics is providing groundbreaking changes to veterinary care and treatments, and that's driving a lot of the change in the equine insurance market we're exper­iencing today.

Advice for a fellow agent?

Building relationships with customers is critical. I have made lifelong friends through our business and being able to enjoy the successes of our customers—whether it's long-distance or they're standing next to me at the show ring—makes it special. On the flip side, when things don't go so well, at a competition or with their horse's health, being able to understand the trials and tribulations our customers are going through and connect with them on a more personal level is extremely important.

Favorite success story?

A horse insured through our agency that was a top showjumper sustained what was thought to be a career-ending injury. Our insured was devastated at the thought of retiring their top competition horse. Through extensive rehabilitation, the horse returned to the top level of the sport. Being able to provide medical reimbursement for rehabilitation and diagnostic testing was a key to the horse's recovery and success.

Olivia Overman is IA content editor.