Nearly 30 years ago, famous TV dog Lassie was issued the first pet insurance policy by Dr. Jack Stephens. Dr. Stephens, who is considered the founder of the pet health insurance industry in North America, founded Pets Best Insurance in 2005.
“When I started Pets Best Insurance, I wanted to make pet insurance even better and more predictable for pet owners than it was. Pets Best Insurance and pet insurance as a whole continue to grow,” says Dr. Jack Stephens.
The pet health insurance industry has changed dramatically from its beginnings of insuring celebrity pets like Lassie. Now, many pet owners consider their dogs and cats to be members of their family and want to offer them protection from accidents and illnesses.
According to USA TODAY*, the adoption rate of pet insurance by pet owners is growing, though the number of dogs and cats insured in the U.S. is only about 1%, compared to around 20% of the pets in the U.K.
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“At the point where you’re starting to view your pet as a member of the family, your sense of responsibility to that animal grows incredibly,” Chris Middleton, Pets Best Insurance COO, explains. And while the industry got its start with a celebrity dog Lassie, it is now pets with names such as Al Poochino and Lilly Bell who star every night in their own shows at home.
*USA TODAY, “More owners buy pet insurance for furry pals,” March 2012