Progressive teams with PetsBest for new pet insurance benefit

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Insurance provider Progressive has entered into the voluntary benefits marketplace to offer employer clients a pet insurance benefit through its partnership with PetsBest.

Progressive has been offering consumer pet health insurance plans to dog and cat owners through PetsBest since 2009. Now, Progressive is using that offering as a springboard as they enter the voluntary benefits market for the first time. New employer clients will be able to offer a pet insurance benefit through Progressive.

“Most people know Progressive as a large auto insurer. What we find is when we talk to consumers and we ask them what is the most important for them to protect in their household, we're hoping that we get answers back about their vehicles and their property because those are the main products that we insure,” says Drew Purcell, business development leader at Progressive. “But what we often hear is stories about their pet, and how important their pets are to them and how they want to protect their pet.”

Purcell says the partnership with PetsBest revealed an opportunity to enter the voluntary benefits market themselves. The new Progressive pet insurance offering with PetsBest can integrate with any benefit enrollment platform, and employees can select the amount of coverage that best fits their needs, with access to a free helpline to address any pet wellness questions or concerns.

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The pet insurance benefit is available to companies of any size and can be added at any time throughout the year. Employers have the option to pay for part or all of the pet insurance, or companies can choose to have their employees pay the premiums directly. Payroll deduction is also available to companies with at least 250 employees.

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“Foundationally, PetsBest and Progressive offer a very wide set of core insurance products,” says Chris Middleton, senior vice president and general manager of PetsBest. “Employees can really structure what they want with a variety of reimbursement levels and deductibles.”

Caring for a pet can be an expensive undertaking; Americans spent about $29.3 billion in 2019 on veterinary care and products, according to the American Pet Product Association.

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Pet insurance has become an increasingly in-demand benefit, especially among millennials, who make up 35% of all U.S. pet owners, according to TD Ameritrade. For millennials, the health and welfare of their pets is more important than their own well-being. Indeed, 62% of millennials would take their pet to the vet before going to the doctor for themselves, according to data from HealthPocket, a free information source designed to help consumers find medical coverage. But despite the importance the largest demographic of employees in the workforce places on their pets, only 15% of employers offer pet health insurance, according to data from the Society for Human Resource Management.

“The millennial cohort have different expectations from work than previous generations. Their pet has essentially become their child,” Middleton says. “They have different expectations of their employers, and they want their employers to recognize the strength of that relationship and how important these pets are in their lives.”

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