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Pets Best Reaches $100 Million in Payouts

The milestone is a victory for pets and a defeat for economic euthanasia, the insurer states.

Allergies, ear infections and arthritis were common conditions that sent dogs to veterinarians, according to data from Pets Best Insurance Services.

Isabelle Francais/I-5 Studio

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Pets Best Insurance Services has paid out more than $100 million to policyholders since the company was established in 2005.

The milestone, reported today, shows that people who purchase health insurance policies for their pets are likely to choose veterinary care over putting down the animal when medical costs are a barrier, said company founder Jack L. Stephens, DVM.

“The reason I started the pet insurance industry was to end economic euthanasia,” said Dr. Stephens, who launched today’s leading company, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), in 1982.

“After 33 years, the industry has helped hundreds of thousands of pet owners and saved millions of pets,” he said.

Pets Best pegged the economic euthanasia tipping point at $1,704 in 2012. That is, most pet owners faced with a veterinary bill of $1,704 or more would choose to have the animal euthanized.

Dogs represent the vast majority of Pets Best’s business—88 percent of paid insurance claims and 82 percent of policies.

The most common canine insurance claims were linked to skin allergies, ear infections, arthritis, masses such as lumps and bumps, and cruciate ligament injuries, Pets Best stated.

The average paid claim for skin allergies was $91, and the largest was $4,936. Pets Best paid out an average of $585—and a high of $6,542—for cruciate ligament injuries.

The most frequent feline conditions leading to insurance claims were kidney failure, hyperthyroidism, diabetes, allergies and inflammatory bowel disease.

The average paid claim for chronic kidney failure was $181. The largest was $5,909.

Pets Best, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, collected $32 million in gross premiums in 2014 and ended the year with 63,000 insured pets, Stephens said.

The U.S. pet insurance industry—made up of VPI, Pets Best, Trupanion and nine other companies—is forecast to do $721 million in business in 2015, according to the market research firm IBISWorld.

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