Pet Insurance: Will It Really Get That Candidate to Work For You?

by Michael Haberman on July 20, 2011 · 2 comments


"He could melt hearts with these eyes"

I have a question for you. If you are looking for work and you are lucky enough to have competing job offer what will make you decide that you want one job over another? Pay, title, location, company culture, or the fact that you are offered pet insurance as part of the benefit package? I personally don’t believe pet insurance is the big draw. Yet an increasing number of companies are offering pet insurance as part of the benefit package.

Auther Lisa Byer, in Here Kitty, Kitty: Pet Insurance Benefit Picking Up, says “…one-quarter of Fortune 500 companies offer their pet insurance as an employee benefit. Companies that offer pet insurance through VPI or other insurers and iscounters, includes the Boeing Co., Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., Delta Air Lines Inc., Kohl’s Corp., Morgan Stanley, Home Depot Inc.—which has offered pet insurance since 2004—and McDonald’s, which offers discounts on pet insurance premiums.” Now granted having a pet can be an expensive endeavor. I know, I have spent ALOT of money on pet healthcare in the past. (Disclaimer: I am not currently a pet owner, and happy for it. At my age and circumstances I don’t need a “baby” to take care of.) Beyer goes on to say “Employees typically pay 100 percent of a group rate for the insurance, sometimes through post-tax payroll deductions, with participation ranging from 1 to 5 percent of the employee population.”

Many of the companies offering pet insurance through an employer tout it as a “free benefit” for the employer with no cost associated. Well that is wrong. There are costs associated with setting up the payroll deductions for employees. But the myth persists. Reason for offering this “benefit” are many as exemplified by this statement “They may want to augment an already robust benefits package, add a no-cost benefit to soften the blow of changes in their health care plan [for people], or
differentiate themselves from their competition…”  Really, having pet insurance softens the blow that you now have a $5000 deductible and pay an extra $500 per month? Hmmmm…. count me sceptical.

Beyer gives figures that show that the participation among employees is relatively low in companies that have it. The most enthusiastic users seem to be the HR managers that have pets. Now I have no problem with having pet insurance. I would just not hang my recruitment strategy or my retention strategy on the fact that I have pet insurance. Just saying….

The only person I know that might make a job decision based on pet insurance is Laurie Ruettimann… famous for her cats.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

BarbaraS July 20, 2011 at 11:55 am

I agree that offering pet insurance to employees won’t make up for rising healthcare costs. But I think it definitely shows that your HR people are thinking of you and your family, and trying to help you. My company offers Pet Assure to our employees, and we have a 20% participation rate. Maybe because it’s less complicated than insurance…? I don’t know, but I’m glad we made the decision to roll it out. It’s a very simple program, with no hassle for us, so why not?

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Michael Haberman July 20, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Hey Barbara. Thanks for the comment. As I said I really don’t have a problem with offering pet insurance. However, I think any HR person that touts this as the key to finding or keeping employees will not be viewed as relevant by upper management. It is also not a “no-cost” program, it does take time and money to implement.

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