(BOISE, IDAHO–AUGUST 18, 2006),-Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC DBA Pets Best Insurance (Pets Best Insurance) has been formed to acquire the 25-employee pet insurance division from General Fire & Casualty Company (General Fire) and other intellectual property rights from GF&C Holding Company, General Fire’s parent corporation. The pet health insurance company is a General Agency that will be focused on accelerating growth by contracting with General Fire and other insurance companies to underwrite its products nationwide before the end of the fourth quarter of 2006. Due to growth and expansion to more urban states, Pets Best Insurance anticipates a six-fold growth in annualized premium to over $31 million in 2007, its second year of business.
The new company includes founder and president, Jack Stephens, DVM, a former executive vice president of General Fire and the pioneer of the pet insurance industry in the United States. Also included is chairman and CEO, Greg McDonald, the former chairman of GF&C Holding Company. Between these two leaders they have over fifty years of experience and leadership in the insurance industry. Pets Best Insurance will pay General Fire and GF&C Holding Company in excess of $10 million dollars in exchange for the pet insurance division. Both McDonald and Stephens will continue to hold limited investments in GF&C Holding Company, but have resigned as directors and officers of General Fire and GF&C Holding Company, respectively, to devote their full time and attention to the pet insurance company.
Stephens acknowledged the new collaboration. “By creating Pets Best [Insurance] we will greatly increase growth and revenue potential for our pet insurance business. We have been very pleased with the results of Pets Best [Insurance] and the response from veterinarians and consumers. Making Pets Best [Insurance] products available in all states will help us become a proven and sustainable leader in pet insurance,” McDonald added, “The general agency structure will allow us to concentrate our capital on marketing and advertising. Our continuing underwriting relationship with General Fire and other contracted insurance carriers will be central to our success and will continue to be a source of excellent support and services.”
According to Dan Crandall, Chairman & CEO of General Fire, “Pets Best’s marketing and internet strategy, including contracting other insurance company providers, will increase the potential for more written premiums nationwide. We look forward to continuing to underwrite and provide policyholder support to Pets Best Insurance as a valued general agent.”
Pets Best Insurance markets and manages pet health and accident insurance for the consumer through www.petsbest.com and its integrated call centers 877 PetsBest (738-7237). Additionally, they market to the veterinary trade through the above channels and regional representatives. With online sales, customer service portal, and electronic delivery of policies, the customer benefits by receiving a more simplified convenient experience. The insurance underwriter reimburses pet owners for services from the veterinarian they choose. Pets Best Insurance product brand includes a choice of four affordable coverage plans with a straightforward 80:20 claims reimbursement structure and NO benefit schedule. The Pets Best team is a highly skilled and professional group of pet lovers who have developed products based on innovation and insight into veterinary care. Pets Best Insurance is truly “Pet insurance that really pays!” Pets Best Insurance is underwritten by General Fire & Casualty Company.
General Fire is a specialty property and casualty insurer. Its home office is located at 2710 Sunrise Rim Road, Boise, Idaho 83705. General Fire’s mission is to “be our customer’s best choice for the placement of their insurance business and personal trust.” The corporate objective of General Fire is to generate property & casualty insurance underwriting profits in selected specialty niches. General Fire is licensed to transact property and casualty insurance in 24 states: AZ, CA, CO, ID, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, ND, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WI, WY.
July 21, 2006, Twin Falls, Idaho: How does your pet make you smile. That’s what the Skeeter Foundation wants to see! The Skeeter Foundation, whose primary mission is to support its goal of “Prescribe Pets not Pills” philosophy, today announced its first contest of many to follow celebrating how our pets make us well. The first contest is “How my Pet Makes Me Smile.” The foundation invites all pet owners in the U.S.A. to submit photos-from wacky and wild to cute and cuddly to completely heartwarming-illustrating how their pet makes a positive impact on their life, by making them smile.
Pets Best Insurance is the primary sponsor of the Skeeter Foundation “How does your pet make you smile?” contest. Pets Best is the branded pet insurance product of Pets Best Insurance. Pets Best Insurance markets and manages pet health and accident insurance online and through its integrated call centers. Pets Best Insurance is the sponsor of the program and a leading benefactor of the Skeeter Foundation. According to Greg Mc Donald, CEO of Pets Best Insurance, “The work of the foundation, helping volunteers to visit hospitals, nursing homes and schools with their certified pets is invaluable to society and we are pleased to be the sponsor of this contest. This contest will certainly show the myriad of ways that pets bring joy to people’s lives. The contest will show how important pets are in our lives and how much better we all feel, by simply interacting with our pet.”
There is now well-documented scientific proof that pets improve our lives by improving our biochemistry and the Skeeter Foundation’s mission is to support programs that further the goal of improving our health and well being through pet therapy teams made up of volunteers and their certified pets along with education on the personal and social benefits of pets. “The contest is a celebration of the human-animal bond,” says Jack Stephens, DVM, and Foundation Chairman. Dr. Stephens and his wife, Vicki founded the foundation after Dr. Stephens personal experience with his Miniature Pinischer Spanky helping him to overcome severe cancer and observing the POWER of pets over a lifetime of being a veterinarian. The contest will draw attention to the incredible bond we share with our beloved pets.
Any pet owner may post their acceptable “How does your pet make you smile” pet contest photo, and then vote and encourage all friends and family to vote.
Over $10,000.00 in prizes, including a trip to New York for two, plus much, much more!
||Trip to New York for Two, (3 days 2 nights) Hotel, plus, Round trip airfare, plus, Limousine service to and from airport to hotel, plus, One Year Pets Best insurance policy for dog or cat, plus, One Year Pets Best Routine Care endorsement, plus Air-conditioned dog-cat Kennel, plus, Original Painting by noted Pet, animal and wildlife artist.
||One year Pets Best insurance policy for dog or cat, plus One Year Pets Best Routine Care endorsement, plus, Air- conditioned Kennel.
||Six months Pets Best insurance policy for dog or cat, plus, Six months Pets Best routine care endorsement
||Three months Pets Best insurance policy for dog or cat, plus, Three months Pets Best routine care endorsement
Top ten will be picked through popular web site votes from pet owners visiting the web site to vote for their favorite photos. First place through fourth will be selected from the top ten popular vote getters by a panel of judges.
According to Vicki Stephens, Executive Director of the Skeeter Foundation, “Many of us have witnessed the incredible value and health benefits of our pets. For our family and The Skeeter Foundation, we literally see the magic and healthful benefits of pets each and every day through our therapy pet teams. Our pet prescription teams visit nursing homes, hospitals, hospice, schools and other locations where a dose of pet companionship can help people in need. Whether it is providing needed companionship to a lonely resident of a nursing home, visiting an injured child in the hospital or providing a reading companion to a developmentally challenged child to read to, pets provide a meaningful level of practical health benefit that makes our desired mission of Pets Not Pills a realized possibility. This contest is a celebration of all pets and the love and wellness they bring to all people. This contest will not only celebrate pets, but will also raise further awareness and our ability as a foundation to reach more people in need of pet companionship.”
About The Skeeter Foundation: The primary goal of the Skeeter Foundation is to educate people and support programs that endorse the “Prescribe Pets, Not Pills” philosophy. Named in honor of one of the founder’s Dr. Jack Stephens’ pet companions, the Skeeter Foundation was formed to perpetuate the proven positive effects that pets have on human health.
One of the Skeeter Foundation’s principle activities is to develop and support volunteer therapy teams comprising a variety of pets that bring joy and relieve stress into people’s lives. Pets are mostly certified dogs that have passed rigorous training. Others include cats, rabbits, miniature horses and even a llama. Pets eligible for the pet prescription therapy teams must have a gentle disposition, and be patient with and tolerant of strangers. The Foundation provides consultative and administrative support to the prescription therapy teams, as well as liability insurance, which is required by visited institutions.
Email The Skeeter Foundation at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Mailing address is:
The Skeeter Foundation
P.O. Box 5862
Twin Falls, ID 83303
Contest Disclaimer: The foundation, sponsor and its agencies, companies and providers are not responsible for technical, hardware, software, or telephone malfunctions of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, or for any equipment or programming-associated connections, or failed, incorrect, incomplete, inaccurate, garbled, or delayed electronic communications with or utilized in this contest that may limit the ability to participate, or for any human error that may occur in the processing of the entries in this contest. If for any reason (including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other cause beyond the control of Foundation and sponsor that corrupts or affects the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of this contest) the contest is not capable of being conducted as described in these Official Rules, Sponsor shall have the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the contest at any time without notice.
Participants are aware that the Skeeter Foundation is a not-for-profit organization, with the primary goal to educate people and support programs that endorse the “Prescribe Pets, Not Pills” philosophy. Named in honor of one of the founder’s Dr. Jack Stephens’ animal companions, the Skeeter Foundation was formed to perpetuate the proven positive effects that pets have on human health. By participating in the contest, participants grant the Skeeter Foundation and the sponsors the right to print, publish, broadcast and use worldwide in any media now known or hereafter developed, including, without limitation, the World Wide Web, at any time or times, the drawing and the participants name, as news or for public information and education on the benefits and positive effects that pets have on human health. The contest and all information associated becomes the property of the Skeeter Foundation and sponsors will not be returned.
Contest participants may not have any form of business affiliation with Pets Best Insurance, General Fire & Casualty or any companies or individuals that are employed or provide services to the Skeeter Foundation.
July 17, 2006, Boise, Idaho—With Pets Best Insurance’s continued commitment to upgrading the insurance choices within the pet insurance industry, the company is offering pet owners the option to Lock- in their rates for an extended time. The Pets Best Lock-In rate option is intended to make pet insurance continually affordable for families during the active years of their pet’s lives. The Lock-In rate is an available option under the Pets First and Pets Basic plans for the first eight years of an insured dog’s life and the first twelve years of an insured cat’s life.
“Pet insurance works best for pets when families can afford to keep the insurance coverage in force over a longer period of time” says Jack Stephens DVM, Founder and President of Pets Best Insurance. “We want to give pet families every opportunity to secure pet insurance early-on in their pet’s life and limit the risk of rate increases as the pet ages.” Dr. Stephens is widely acknowledged as the founder and an innovator of the U.S. pet insurance industry.
Pets Best Insurance believes that pet insurance provides a true partnership between the Company, pet families and their veterinarians to create the financial means of care that enhances the quality of life for pets. The Pets Best product allows veterinary professionals to utilize more comprehensive health care services with less concern over affordability, Saving Pet’s Lives. The Pets Best Insurance Lock-In rate is an endorsement that provides an affordable opportunity at just $1.00 per month for pet owners to budget long term for their veterinary care. This is another first for Pets Best in offering “pet health insurance that pays.” It creates an environment of care that enhances the quality of life for pets, allows veterinary professionals to utilize more comprehensive health care services, and allows pet families to be less concerned over affordability.
According to Greg McDonald, Chairman/CEO of the pet insurance company, “At the end of the day, we are certain this program can improve the health of many, many pets who otherwise may not be insured and realize the best possible veterinary care. This new Pets Best Lock-In rate has already received regulatory approval in 10 of the states we presently serve. This important option will help transform caring pet families from potential customers who think insurance is a good idea, to pet families that can better budget pet insurance premiums for many years. Our team is systematically rolling out this exciting Pets Best Lock-In rate option to all states where Pets Best is available.”
About Pets Best*: Pets Best is the branded insurance product of Pets Best Insurance Services, LLC. Pets Best markets and manages pet health and accident insurance through www.petsbest.com and its integrated call centers. With online sales, customer service portal, and electronic delivery of policies, the customer benefits by receiving a more simplified convenient experience. Pets Best reimburses pet owners for services from the veterinary they choose, “Pet Insurance That Really Pays!” Founded by Dr. Jack Stephens, pioneer of the pet insurance industry and an accomplished veterinarian, avid pet enthusiast and seasoned insurance executive with more than 24 years experience, Pets Best product brand includes a choice of four affordable coverage plans with a straightforward 80:20 claims reimbursement structure and NO benefit schedules. The Pets Best team is a highly skilled and professional group of pet lovers who have developed products based on innovation and insight into veterinary care. Pets Best Insurance is underwritten by General Fire & Casualty Company.
Twin Falls, Idaho, April 10, 2006 — The Skeeter Foundation today announced that it has secured funding to revitalize its mission as a non-profit pet foundation. This announcement follows an infusion of initial funding by GF&C Holding Company, the parent of General Fire & Casualty the underwriting insurance company for Pets Best insurance pet insurance plans. Additionally, Greg McDonald, chairman of GF&C Holding Company made a sizeable donation, assisting the funding of the charitable institution which has been dormant for the past two years.
The Skeeter Foundation was created in 2000 by Dr. Jack Stephens, with his companion Skeeter as its inspiration and spokes-pet. The foundation’s mission was then, and is now, to demonstrate that companion pets make us healthier, thus the mission of “Prescribe Pets, Not Pills” to promote the human-animal bond. The foundation’s major activities provide support for pet therapy teams, which are groups of volunteers who visit hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities and schools with their certified therapy pets.
“The human-animal bond is one of the strongest, most life-affirming relationships we can have,” said Dr. Stephens. “Pets have the power to positively affect our physical, emotional and mental well-being. With the newly rejuvenated Skeeter Foundation, we intend to provide financial and educational backing to validate and promote this special connection and its value to society. In addition, the Foundation plans to carry on its funding of scientific studies that measure the physiological and psychological benefits of pet companionship and other pet or animal-related causes.”
The Skeeter Foundation has previously contributed an endowment for funding important studies that have provided convincing evidence that quiet interaction with a pet is good for humans by positively impacting our body chemistry. It seems that contact with animals is rooted in our biology, through the eons of human development, as a potent stress reliever. The Foundation is planning a series of special Internet contests, where pet owners can celebrate the joy of companion animals, as well as other activities during 2006 to raise additional financial support and to increase awareness of how pets positively impact our lives.
In past years, the Skeeter Foundation has contributed an endowment to the University of Missouri Veterinary College and Nursing School to fund an important study that measures hormones and other chemicals that our bodies produce while interacting with a dog, without a dog and with a robotic dog. These studies have preliminarily validated the Skeeter Foundation’s mission of “Prescribe Pets, Not Pills,” by demonstrating through scientific measurement that, while interacting with a pet, “good hormones” and body chemicals increase and other “hormones and chemicals” such as cortisol that, in excess, can be bad for humans, decrease.
Skeeter, no ordinary canine companion, has a long list of accomplishments from his tenure with the Skeeter Foundation and before:
- He is the first canine to be a featured commencement speaker at the University of Missouri and Texas A&M Veterinary schools. At Texas A&M Skeeter received a rare standing ovation at the conclusion of a speech by Dr. Stephens.
- Skeeter holds an honorary DVM degree from the University of Missouri.
- He served as co-speaker/barker with Dr. Stephens at a National Cancer Day event at a leading hospital. The Topic was: The importance of Pets in the Healing Process.
- He has been a sought-after guest on cable and network news shows and pet talk programs.
- He has made numerous therapy visits, including several on Christmas day, to brighten the lives of numerous individuals.
- He assisted and inspired Dr. Stephens to found Pets Best, underwritten by General Fire & Casualty Company,
“Simply the Best Pet Insurance.”
The primary goal of the Skeeter Foundation is to educate people and support programs that endorse the “Prescribe Pets, Not Pills” philosophy. Named in honor of one of the founder’s Dr. Jack Stephens’ animal companions, the Skeeter Foundation was formed to perpetuate the proven positive effects that pets have on human health.
One of the Skeeter Foundation’s principle activities is to develop and support volunteer therapy teams comprising a variety of pets that bring joy and relieve stress into people’s lives. Pets are mostly certified dogs that have passed rigorous training. Others include cats, rabbits, miniature horses and even a llama. Pets eligible for the Rx teams must have a gentle disposition, and be patient with and tolerant of strangers. The Foundation provides consultative and administrative support to the Rx teams, as well as liability insurance, which is required by visited institutions.
Boise, Idaho, March 21, 2006 — Pets Best, insurance for pets and a division of General Fire & Casualty Company, today announced that it has launched a “click-to-chat” service to provide Web site visitors with instant online access to its customer service representatives. By offering this type of service, Pets Best is looking to meet the needs of customers and potential customers who prefer getting their information via the Internet and, for various reasons, want to avoid telephone contact. The chat medium allows them to obtain assistance or have their questions answered quickly and efficiently in real-time, while maintaining control over the interaction.
Based on technology from LivePerson, Inc., the leading provider of hosted solutions for managing online customer interactions, the service is easy for site visitors to use. After logging on to the Pets Best Web site, www.petsbest.com, visitors click on a clearly labeled icon that is displayed on various pages. This instantly sets up a real-time, direct connection with a knowledgeable Pets Best customer service representative for interactive text-messaging communications. Since Pets Best representatives can view the exact site-location of each visitor, they can provide immediate assistance, answering questions or helping navigate through pages to locate specific information.
“Click-to-chat provides us with another avenue for helping customers, letting them choose the medium in which they feel most comfortable. We want our customers to know that we’re readily available if they have questions, and adding this to our Web site conveys that far better than merely displaying a phone number,” said Pets Best founder, Dr. Jack Stephens. “One of the service’s most useful features is that it lets us co-browse with customers, so we can help them fill out forms or review information together. It keeps us, literally, on the same page.”
Live chat also gives Pets Best the ability to address its customers’ needs on a personalized basis, reducing frustration levels and increasing their overall satisfaction. Additionally, providing this contact option to customers should reduce site-abandonment issues and improve online sales conversions.