Founder of U.S. Pet Insurance Industry Launches Pets Best

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 Boise, Idaho, October 17, 2005 — Pets Best, insurance for pets and a division of General Fire & Casualty Company, today announced that it will begin providing the most comprehensive pet insurance plans for bonded pet owners whose pet is a family member. Initially, the company will offer programs in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Utah. The pet health insurance company anticipates being able to offer the plans in California and Illinois by November 2005, supporting a total of 25 states by the end of this year, and all 50 states by the end of 2006.

Founded by industry pioneer and veterinarian, Dr. Jack Stephens, the pet insurance company’s insurance plans are designed to provide the peace of mind that comes when consumers want “simply the best.”  Pets Best Insurance will offer its policyholders fast claim turnaround, the industry’s highest benefits, simple-to-understand coverage and stellar customer service.

Dr. Stephens draws on 33 years of veterinary experience and a lifelong passion for animals in delivering the new offering. “My goal all along has been to provide pet owners with unparalleled protection, including simple-to-understand claims reimbursement and exceptional service. Pets Best’s mission is to be worthy of pet owners, veterinarians and veterinary staff recommendations as their best choice for pet insurance,” said Dr. Stephens.

As a veterinarian and pet lover with eight dogs and two cats, Dr. Stephens brings a unique perspective to the pet insurance industry. “I looked at the needs of the pet owner where a pet is considered a family member, and I focused on what pet owners and their veterinarians wanted that was not available from any other company,” continued Dr. Stephens. “I knew from experience that I could provide greater value and higher reimbursement by automating many processes and passing along the advantages to pet owners in a number of ways — more price-sensitive options, higher limits and better benefits. I had a strong drive to create a cutting-edge insurance product that would pay 80 percent reimbursement and eliminate any disappointment of pet owners with pet health claims.”

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Pets Best insurance plans all provide for reimbursement to the insured or direct payment to veterinarians for eligible veterinary care. The pet insurance plans include:

  • Pets First. The premier and highest per incident benefit plan for pet owners.
  • Pets Basic. An economical plan with the same coverage as Pets First with lower per incident limits and higher deductible, but at a lower cost.
  • Pets Accident. A simplified, specific accident-only plan.

For an additional premium, pet owners can receive wellness reimbursements for specific wellness and vaccination coverage including spaying/neutering, teeth cleaning, vaccines and annual health examinations of their pet.

Pets Best Insurance is entering a field with enormous growth potential. In the U.S., the pet health insurance market is still virtually untapped, with a one percent market penetration and fewer than ten companies offering coverage. A 2002 report by Market Trends states that, while spending on veterinary services has increased by 83 percent since 1996, less than one percent of the more than 136 million dogs and cats in this country are covered by pet insurance. That figure is higher in other parts of the world. In the United Kingdom, for instance, 14 percent of dogs and five percent of cats are covered by about 60 insurers offering over 100 pet plans with much smaller market size.

Dr. Stephens cites the limited number of options and benefits in existing programs that meet pet owner needs as reasons why pet insurance has not taken off in the U.S. Additionally, he believes there is a lack of awareness among pet owners. To tackle these issues, the company is planning a 35-city seminar before year-end 2005 to explain Pets Best features, coverage and benefits to veterinarians. In 2006, it will also provide veterinarians and clinics with a variety of marketing, training and public relations programs designed to help raise awareness among pet owners. To ensure the quality of its service, Pets Best will employ professionally trained field service representatives, who will maintain frequent contact with veterinarians in their regions and bring problem-solving skills and useful information to veterinary clinics.

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About Pets Best Insurance

Pets Best Insurance, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is a division of General Fire & Casualty Company, which specializes in theAgra business, livestock and animal-related insurance products. The company provides the most comprehensive insurance plans for bonded pet owners whose pet is a family member. Its insurance plans provide the peace of mind that comes when a pet owner wants “simply the best.”  Pets Best takes pride in offering its policyholders fast claims turnaround, the highest limits, generous benefits, a variety of deductible options for every budget, and the most personalized customer-satisfaction approach.

Unlike other commercial pet insurance companies, Pets Best understands veterinary care, because the company is veterinary-owned and operated, providing over 30 years of veterinary experience and in-depth knowledge of all aspects of pet health insurance. Its founder, Dr. Jack Stephens pioneered the pet insurance industry in 1981. For more information, visit or call 877-PETS BEST (738-7237).

Protect your loved ones with Pet Insurance!