Iams buys a stake in VPI


Orlando-Iams just bought minority equity ownership in Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).


Iams just bought minority equity ownership in Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI).

The announcement came at the North American Veterinary Conference witha kick-off event featuring a talk by Walter Cronkite.

"Our mission has always been to enhance the well-being of dogs andcats," says Jeffrey P. Ansell, president of The Iams Company. "Joiningforces with VPI, we have opened a new chapter in our efforts, providingveterinarians with a valuable tool that combines premium nutrition withtotal medical care. Joining forces with VPI, we have opened a new chapterin our efforts, providing veterinarians with a valuable tool that combinespremium nutrition with total medical care."

Dr. Jack Stephens, founder and CEO of VPI, tells DVM Newsmagazine thatthe company has grown substantially and consistently for the last sevenyears. VPI is close to a $100 million business today.

The latest deal with Iams gives the company vast market exposure to itsinsurance service. In fact, a promotion will now be included in all of Iamspuppy and kitten kits, which is estimated to reach 1 million people eachyear.

Stephens says, "Insurance can remove financial barriers for petowners and enable veterinarians to provide the type of care that may leadto longer, healthier pet lives. This effort will help even more dog andcat owners learn about and take advantage of the benefits insurance coveragecan provide."

The newest agreement will help build awareness of pet health insuranceamong puppy and kitten owners. Through the program, VPI will provide petowners with easier access to insurance and incentives for purchasing policies.

Iams adds that pet owners with insurance can take advantage of the higheststandards of veterinary medicine, yet less than one-half of 1 percent ofpet owners in the United States has pet health insurance. By comparison,Sweden has the highest percentage of insured dogs and cats in the world,with 49 percent penetration. In the United Kingdom, 14 percent of dogs and5 percent of cats are insured.

In a recent pilot program sponsored by the two companies, clinics usedIams puppy and kitten kits to introduce insurance to their clients averageda purchase rate greater than 7 percent, which is more than 14 times thenational average. Some clinics experienced opt-in rates of more than 20percent or 40 times the national average.

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