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ASPCA inks pet insurance deal


New York - The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) now markets health insurance policies for dogs and cats.

NEW YORK — The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) now markets health insurance policies for dogs and cats.

The nationwide program is a first for a welfare organization, officials say. Announced last month, ASPCA plans to put its name behind underwriting partner Hartville Insurance Co.'s pet indemnity plans. The goal is to increase the number of owners protecting their pets with insurance policies, says Jo Sullivan, senior vice president of communications and development for ASPCA.

"If we can provide a cobranded product leveraging our name, we can promote an effort we really believe in," she says. "ASPCA pet health insurance is the only insurance to be branded by a national welfare organization. We want to attract interest. People know and trust the name of ASPCA."

Marketing to consumer audiences, Sullivan is quick to note that veterinarians will not be expected to carry the insurance or participate in claims. Ohio-based Hartville, which already insures pets nationally, works solely with policyholders in a reimbursement fashion. The ASPCA program refunds 80 percent of allowable veterinary charges with a $100 deductible. While different levels of insurance are available, rates and quotes also vary geographically.

"We work directly with the consumer," Sullivan says.

Big plans

While profitability goals exist, ASPCA officials note the push for owners to consider insurance is the driving force behind the organization's endeavor. Apart from that cause, ASPCA seeks to challenge the marketplace.

"We're hoping that this from a financial perspective is positive for us, but that's not our only goal," she says. "Obviously we know there are big players, but we're marketing a product and name that has a mass appeal."

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