Pet insurance is becoming more and more popular as many pet owners see the value (and safety) of insuring their pet’s health. Here at LendEDU, we love our pets and have been invested in learning about pet insurance, insurance providers, and more — all in the hopes of educating consumers about how pet insurance can help them.
We were offered a great opportunity in this regard. I had a chance to discuss pet insurance and the ASPCA in an interview with Liz Watson, Vice President of Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group — one of the oldest pet insurance companies and the provider for ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and Hartville Pet Insurance.
Liz brought a wealth of experience to the table and was able to comment on the pet insurance industry as well as how C&F and ASPCA Pet Health Insurance are helping consumers, veterinarians, and employers keep their pets healthy.
Taking on the New Role of Vice President
Q: How was transitioning to the Vice President role with one of the first pet insurance providers in the country — Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group?
A: I spent over two decades as a marketing leader in the telecommunications industry. When the opportunity arose to join a company helping pets live longer, healthier lives, I was thrilled. The Vice President role has given me the ability to have an enterprise-wide impact on the overall business operations, an exciting challenge that’s given me more exposure to what I consider the best part about this company: our people.
Q: What’s the most exciting aspect of working with Crum & Foster and its insurance brands? What sort of reach does partnering with the ASPCA provide?
A: We have two pet health insurance programs: ASPCA Pet Health Insurance and Hartville Pet Insurance. If you look under the hood, you’ll see they are similarly constructed. That said, the different branding helps us reach varying audiences. Our reach is more than 145,000 insured pets nationwide.
It’s exciting and serves as a personal motivator to know I come to work every day with the goal of supporting a business that can truly impact the health and welfare of dogs and cats. I’m a pet parent myself and know firsthand how strong the bond is. They’re part of the family.
Providing Coverage with ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
Q: How does the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program and Crum & Forster differentiate itself from other pet insurance providers?
A: For the most part, the industry has shifted to a similarly structured model: reimbursement of the actual vet bill, ranging from 70, 80, or 90 percent, after deductible, and with certain annual limits. However, within these details, there are places where we certainly stand out.
For instance, we cover exam fees for covered conditions, where many insurance companies don’t. Also, a nuance customers need to consider is how the deductible is structured. Ours is annual. Once it’s met, you don’t have to pay it again for the rest of the plan year. However, some use a per-incident deductible, which means you are basically expected to cover that cost each time you file a claim. This can really cut into a pet parent’s reimbursement.
Q: How do you partner with veterinarians to improve health insurance coverage for pets? How does this help veterinarians as well as pets?
A: We want veterinarians and their staff to be well informed of the benefits of pet health insurance. Most veterinarians share a common belief in providing healthy, happy lives for animals.
Pet health insurance can play a role by helping pet owners afford veterinary care as well as making it less likely someone will choose a subpar treatment plan or opt to not treat their dog or cat because of finances.
Q: How do you make it easier for employers and other organizations to offer their workers pet insurance?
A: We work with businesses and other organizations to offer pet health insurance as a voluntary benefit to their workforce. In fact, pet insurance is often cited as one of the top trends in the employee benefits space. Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for HR leaders to incorporate our insurance into their existing benefits offerings.
So, we offer marketing collateral, API integration (think of this as our enrollment engine “hosted” on their benefits website), and the ability to offer payroll deduction. Another aspect is that, unlike human healthcare benefits, we don’t limit signups to an “open enrollment” period.
Q: How else is Crum & Forster expanding its reach in the pet health insurance industry? How do you see the overall industry changing in the future?
A: We’re continually evaluating our current program for possible enhancements that we can add or change to improve the customer experience.
While it’s difficult to predict the future, if history is any indication, there will certainly be more change as technology and consumer behavior continue to evolve.
More About Liz
Q: I can’t help but ask: would you say that you prefer owning cats, dogs, or both?
A: I have a family full of both and love them all the same. They bring so much enjoyment and happiness. Don’t tell the dogs, but the cats are in charge!
Q: Also, what’s your favorite breed (cat and/or dog) if you have a favorite?
A: I love all kinds of dogs, but lately, the small dogs, like my Jack Russell Gracie, are the perfect match for my lifestyle.
About ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
ASPCA Pet Health Insurance is an insurance brand founded in 2006 and provided by Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group, which also owns the Hartville Pet Insurance brand. Crum & Forster was a pioneering pet insurance provider and started insuring pets in 1997.
Since the founding of the pet insurance division, over 400,000 cats and dogs have been insured through Crum & Foster and its associated brands, covering more than 2 million claims in two decades.
About Liz Watson
After twenty years of experience as a marketing leader in telecommunications, Liz Watson became the Vice President at Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group in 2016, taking charge of operations, department optimization, strategic planning in marketing, sales, risk management, and more.