Brea, Calif. (Vocus) November 18, 2008
The growing trend of treating pets like members of the family has recently moved to the business world. California-based Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), the nation's oldest and largest provider of pet health insurance, is now partnering with 2,000 companies to offer pet health insurance to their workforce as a voluntary employee benefit. VPI, which launched its corporate benefits program in 1999, has witnessed a 35 percent increase since 2005 in its roster of companies and associations that have added the perk to their voluntary benefits platform.
"In the late 1990s, VPI's corporate benefits program was created as a way to reward veterinary hospital employees with a discount on pet health insurance," said VPI President and CEO Dennis Drent. "The transition from approaching hospitals to all types of businesses was a logical and steady progression that involved world-class companies like VIACOM, Ford Motor Company and Office Depot adding VPI Pet Insurance as a voluntary benefit."
From modest startup businesses to industry giants like Proctor and Gamble, companies that agree to offer their workforce or membership base VPI Pet Insurance provide a group discount on annual base plan premiums for those that enroll. Companies with more than 500 employees are also allowed to offer payroll deduction for monthly premium payments. Employee sign-up for pet health insurance is not restricted to open enrollment periods, making it an attractive year-round retention and recruiting tool for organizations.
"Offering insurance for our employees' pets helps us demonstrate to our staff how committed our organization is to not only their health, but to the well-being of their beloved pets who are often considered part of their extended family," said Sherri Nolan, vice president of human resources for the American Cancer Society's South Atlantic Division, which has been offering VPI Pet Insurance to its staff for two years.
Although pet health insurance does not currently qualify as a pretax medical benefit, there is some movement in that direction. The Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) reported this month that the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) will ask Congress to pass legislation amending Section 125 of the Internal Revenue Service Code to include pet health insurance as a pretax option when enrolling through a company's benefits program. According to JAVMA, Executive Board Member of the AVMA and AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee Head Chair Dr. Larry Kornegay believes offering pet health insurance as a pretax employee benefit would resonate with millions of pet-owning Americans. Studies show that approximately 60 percent of American households own pets.
Companies and associations that are interested in adding pet health insurance to their menu of voluntary employee benefits can contact VPI at 1-800-USA-PETS, extension 5647. Employees of organizations that already offer the perk can find additional information and enroll on the Web at http://www.eb.petinsurance.com.
About Veterinary Pet Insurance
Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for multiple medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Pet WellCare ProtectionSM for routine care is also available.
Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. More than 2,000 companies nationwide offer VPI Pet Insurance as an employee benefit. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.
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