Veterinary Pet Insurance, the industry’s largest policy writer, is joining the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) and taking a spot on the trade group’s board of directors.
The decision, announced Wednesday, comes six years after NAPHIA was established and more than 30 years after VPI became the first insurer of pet health in North America.
"Like NAPHIA, VPI believes in setting high standards for the industry in service, coverage and transparency,” said Scott Liles, president of Brea, Calif.-based VPI. "In order for NAPHIA and the industry to be even more successful, we felt it was time for VPI … to actively participate in NAPHIA’s vision and endeavors.”
Liles will represent VPI on the board of directors.
"VPI has led the industry in North America, and our member companies are excited to have them—and Scott—on board,” said Kristen Lynch, NAPHIA’s executive director. "NAPHIA’s membership now represents more than 85 percent of the pet insurance marketplace in North America.”
Jack Stephens, DVM, the group’s secretary and the founder and owner of Pets Best Insurance in Boise, Idaho, welcomed VPI.
"I always felt they should and would eventually join,” Dr. Stephens said. "They participated in our data benchmarking the last two years as nonmembers, which was a good introduction to the association. I believe they see the benefits that can be accomplished from membership in the association, such as benchmarking, data comparison, lobbying efforts to state insurance departments and expanding the market through participation.
"The potential market and pet owner need for pet health insurance is so large, there is plenty of room for even more competitors,” he added.
Led by VPI’s 485,000 policies, the industry insures about 1 million pets in North America. Pethealth, based in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, is the second largest, with about 200,000 policies.
Pethealth is taking over one of the industry’s smaller businesses, PurinaCare of San Antonio, in a transaction scheduled to close May 1.