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Pets Best Announces Partnership With AVMA GHLIT, Aetna

Posted: Friday, July 18, 2008, 6:20 p.m., EDT

The American Veterinary Medical Assn. Group Health and Life Insurance Trust, AVMA GHLIT, and Pets Best Insurance of Boise, Id., today announced an exclusive relationship to educate veterinarians and consumers about pet insurance. As part of the new partnership, Aetna's general insurance subsidiary, AICC, will be the new underwriter for the Pets Best Insurance plan.

The companies see the partnership as a way to benefit veterinary patients, clients and clinics and help direct the growth of the pet insurance industry in this country, while ensuring that veterinarians retain the freedom to practice as they see fit.

"We know today that the veterinary profession must be a leading component of providing information and education to our clients about pet insurance," said Gary R. Holfinger, DVM, chairman of the board of trustees of AVMA GHLIT. "Working exclusively with Pets Best Insurance and Aetna, we feel certain to deliver a trusted pet insurance product for pet owners and our members."

The announcement was made during a luncheon at AVMA's annual convention in New Orleans.

"The leadership shown today to make pet insurance a central component of the veterinarian-client relationship is very gratifying," said Jack Stephens, DVM, president and founder of Pets Best Insurance and founder of pet insurance in the U.S. "For over 30 years, we have been building an industry to reduce pet euthanasia and provide peace of mind for pet owners. This partnership will be the milestone that makes pet insurance a priority for the majority of pet owners in the United States. And it will also have positive benefits for the veterinary profession."

Pets Best Insurance is currently underwritten by North Pointe Insurance of Michigan. North Pointe will work to transition current policy holders to Aenta Insurance Company of Connecticut.

"We are pleased to join with Pets Best and AVMA GHLIT to offer access to trusted, affordable insurance for pet owners," said Dan Fishbine of Aetna, which provides AVMA GHLIT human insurance offerings. <HOME>

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Pets Best Announces Partnership With AVMA GHLIT, Aetna

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In response to the comments by Dr. Keith, there are a few misconceptions and inaccuracies that need to be cleared up.

First, the purpose of this partnership is to educate the veterinary profession on the importance of pet insurance in providing the best care possible to their patients. AVMA GHLIT does not endorse any particular pet insurance company; rather, they endorse certain components of pet insurance plans, such as a straightforward coverage based on the cost of care and the freedom of the owner to go to any veterinarian they choose (you can view the AVMA Policy here: LINK

Second, most of the statements about Pets Best’s policies are either incorrect or misconstrued.

1) No Breed Exclusions - Pets Best has no exclusions based on breed or upper age restrictions. Coverage is available for all breeds.
2) Usual and Customary Clause - In Pets Best’s history, 100% of claim reimbursements paid to policyholders have been based on actual veterinary fees incurred. The “usual and customary” clause exists simply to ensure that policyholders are being billed standard rates in the clinic where treatment is performed. This helps keep premiums low by ensuring that insured clients are not charged higher fees than non-insured clients treated at the same clinic. It’s worth noting that this clause has NEVER been invoked on any of the millions of dollars in claims that Pets Best has paid out since 2005.
3) Rates Increasing with Age - Rates do go up with age, because the number of claims and costs go up with age.
4) ‘Excessive’ Claims - Pets Best's rates do NOT go up if a policyholder makes ‘excessive’ claims. Unfortunately, the language in the policy isn’t very clear on this issue. Premium rates are calculated strictly based on location, breed, and age. The amounts are filed with the regulatory agencies in each state, and cannot be changed without completely re-filing the rates and providing each policyholder with at least 45 days’ notice.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion of Pets Best and the pet insurance industry, but those opinions should be based on thorough research and accurate interpretation. Purchasers of any insurance policy should be mindful to read and fully understand their policies before signing on, and Pets Best prides itself on being completely forthright and transparent about what its policies do and don’t cover.

Brett Johnson, Pets Best Insurance
Brett, Boise, ID
Posted: 3/5/2010 8:35:02 AM
First, the AVMA partnering with ANY single insurance company borders on restraint of trade and I'm shocked no lawsuits have been filed.
Second, Pets Best has mediocre policies at best. Their website goes to great lengths to give the impression they pay based on whatever the bill is but if you read the Policy you'll see they use "usual and customary" everywhere. They have breed exclusions, rates go up with age, rates go up if the policyholder makes excessive claims and so forth. After a lot of research, there's no way I'll recommend this company to any client.
j. keith, marietta, GA
Posted: 2/26/2010 11:17:49 PM
It is time that the AVMA stepped up and take a leadership roll in recommended pet insurance to the consumer
carlson, boulder, CO
Posted: 7/20/2008 8:48:14 AM
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