The new product offers policyholders the choice of accident and illness coverage only, or accident, illness and wellness coverage.
PRODUCT: Safeco® Pet Insurance
COMPANIES: Underwritten by Safeco Insurance Company of America and administered by Companion Protect Agency.
BEST RATING: A
AVAILABILITY: Appointed agents and brokers only.
FOCUS: The average annual growth rate of U.S. pet insurance has averaged 24.2% over the last five years, and it grew 27.5% from 2019 to 2020 alone, according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association. Further, many millennials and Gen Zers are choosing pets over having children, and 83% are willing to take a second job to afford their pet's health care, according to a poll of over 1,000 pet owners commissioned by Honest Paws last year.
Safeco has previously offered pet insurance in partnership with Crum and Forster, with its Hartville pet insurance product since 2016. “However, we strongly believe in the future of pet insurance and have developed our own product," says Brook McGuire, go-to-market strategy lead, Safeco. “We see this as a big step forward for agent ease of quoting and service."
COVERAGE DETAILS: Policyholders can choose accident and illness coverage only, or accident, illness and wellness coverage.
For accident and illness coverage, Safeco offers flexible annual maximums, deductibles and reimbursement rates, which lets customers build a policy that best meets their needs and budget. Reimbursement is based upon the actual invoice amount versus a fixed reimbursement amount. Coverage is broad and includes alternative medicine and behavioral therapy coverage.
If customers choose the wellness program they receive all the benefits from the accident and illness program, plus fixed reimbursement amounts for common wellness and preventative care services, such as vaccines, prescriptions and exams, and are not subject to deductibles or reimbursement percentages.
To get started, agents need the customer's zip code and the pet's breed, age and sex. A separate policy is issued for each covered pet. There are discounts for covering multiple pets. Safeco also offers discounts for having other Safeco policies, though agents can write pet insurance monoline. Pet insurance claims will not impact customers' Safeco policy premiums.
UNDERWRITING: Safeco Pet® Insurance coverage is limited to cats and dogs that are at least 8 weeks old. The maximum eligible age for dogs is 13 and for cats it's 15 years. All pets must have received a comprehensive physical exam from a veterinarian in the past 12 months. Additionally, there is a 14-day waiting period before coverage becomes available and there are limitations on pre-existing conditions. The minimum premium is $50 per year.
TARGET: Anyone who has one or more cats or dog and is interested in managing the financial risk associated with owning a pet.
“The ideal client is someone who calls their pets fur babies, or someone who hires a pet walker during the work week or feeds their pets premium pet food," McGuire says. “It's a definite need for anyone whose pet has a wardrobe, eats organic and non-GMO, or has an Instagram account."
COVERAGE AVAILABILITY: Safeco® Pet Insurance is available in 44 states, excluding CA, DE, FL, HI, NY and WA. It will become available in CA, FL, NY and WA later this year.
CONTACT: Brook McGuire, go-to-market strategy lead, Safeco; 678-417-3823.
Will Jones is IA editor-in-chief.