American love their pets, at least according to a rash of recent studies. Over the past several years, the total of U.S. households who are pet owners has increased. Currently, 68 percent of U.S. households, or around 85 million families, own a pet, per the American Pet Products Association (APPA). And these households will do a lot to make sure their pets are safe and healthy.
According to the APPA, U.S. households spent over $72.5 billion on their pets in 2018. And, this total is estimated to increase to over $75 billion in 2019. And, of this year’s $72.5 billion spent on pets, over $18 billion of it was spent on veterinary care. These totals mean every six seconds, a pet owner faces a veterinary bill of $3,00 or more.
While a surprise $3,000 bill may not be a massive deal to some, for many Americans this amount would signal a crippling debt. According to a 2019 study by Bankrate, 60 percent of Americans don’t have enough money in savings to cover a $1,000 emergency expense. This study shows a surprise vet bill has the potential to cause significant financial stress for your employees, which in turn has a slew of adverse effects.
Luckily, there’s a solution available. In this article, we’ll detail why giving your employees the best pet insurance could be vital to your organization’s success. Similarly, we’ll tell you how this benefit works to create a more pet-friendly workplace and why these workplaces tend to be more successful than those that aren’t.
What is Pet Insurance?
Pet insurance is medical insurance for pets. Simple enough, right? If your pet has an accident, illness, or injury and needs veterinary care, pet insurance helps cover some, or all, the cost of treatment. Pet insurance, like other forms of insurance, is becoming more customizable.
Pet owners can now choose between different deductibles, co-pays, and annual maximums that best fit their needs. Premiums typically cost between $10 to $100 a month. Also, premiums for dogs are usually more expensive than those for casts. The average cost for dog coverage ranges from $30 – $150 a month. Conversely, coverage for a cat typically ranges between $10 – $50 a month.
How the Best Pet Insurance Can Boost Your Business
There are seven primary means a quality pet insurance plan can help improve your organization’s success. These seven means are detailed below.
1. Improved Recruitment
Providing pet insurance as a benefit helps set your company apart from your competition. According to the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), there’s only a 2 – 3 percent penetration in the pet insurance market. This low number means your firm has the can use pet insurance as a differentiator from your main competitors. Including pet insurance as a voluntary benefit is a cheap and simple means of separating your firm from the rest.
A recent Mars Petcare study of U.S. employers and their workers found similar results. According to the survey, nearly 60 percent of employees said they would select a dog-friendly employer over one that’s not. And this sentiment is especially true for younger workers. The two youngest generations in the workforce, Millennials and Gen X, have the highest rates of pet ownership at 65 and 71 percent, respectively.
Additionally, in a recent survey by Skout, 58 percent of employees under the age of 30 said that dogs in the office make a business a “cool place to work for.” This number was three times the amount who said the same thing for a ping-pong or foosball table. Employees want to work for a pet-friendly company. Sponsoring insurance for your workers’ furry friends is a way to demonstrate your pet-friendly environment.
2. Value Alignment
Workers want to feel as if their personal values, at least some of their values, align with their employer’s values. Not only do more people own pets, but more people also consider their pet a member of the family. Over 95 percent of pet owners now consider their pets to be a part of their family.
Pet insurance shows your staff that you care about what they care about; their pets. This insurance ensures that employees’ pets stay as healthy as possible. It’s a voluntary benefit that aligns employee and company values. So, utilize pet insurance to increase your employee-employer alignment.
3. Better Retention
Giving employees a benefit that protects their four-legged family members is an excellent way to keep employees around. If a worker values their pet, and other potential employers don’t offer pet insurance, that employee is far more likely to stay with your organization.
As previously mentioned, SHRM estimates pet insurance has a 2 – 3 percent market penetration. So, while many employees may value this type of insurance, very few employers are meeting this desire. We can also tell employees wish for this benefit by examining pet insurance utilization in 2018. One Seattle-based carrier saw total enrollments rise by 20 percent during the past year. Similarly, the same carrier saw their claims grow by more than 31 percent.
When offered pet insurance employees are increasingly likely to both elect and utilize this benefit. And because of this, your employees who own pets are much more likely to stay with your company if you protect their pets. The Mars Petcare survey found 87 percent of employers said being-dog friendly helps them attract and retain more talent.
4. Increased Engagement
Some people may believe pets in the workplace would serve as a distraction to employees. However, a 2018 study by Nationwide discovered the opposite was true. According to the research, 91 percent of employees who work for a pet-friendly company said they feel engaged in their work. On the other hand, only 65 percent of employees at non-pet-friendly sites reported that engagement.
Your office may not be ready to transition to an entirely pet-friendly office, but you can demonstrate your pet-friendliness by offering pet insurance. When you protect your employees’ pets, you show your pet-friendliness and increase the likelihood your employees remain engaged in their work.
5. Better Company Culture
We’ve already touched how pet insurance and a more pet-friendly environment overall can boost your recruitment, engagement, retention, and value alignment. Each of these factors contributes to your company’s overall culture. And, if you improve these factors it makes sense your firm’s culture as a whole will also strengthen.
6. Less Stress
Another way pet insurance can help your business, and your employees is by reducing the toll of financial stress on your staff. Per the Financial Fitness Group, over 80 percent of employees have been affected by financial stress. Moreover, this financial stress alone costs U.S. businesses close to $300 billion a year in unscheduled absenteeism, reduced employee productivity, and higher employee turnover.
Also, as previously discussed, veterinary care can have a substantial effect on your employees’ finances. Pet insurance protects your employees from unexpected or exorbitant veterinary bills. This protection, in turn, works to keep employees less stressed and more productive at work.
7. Increased Productivity
The final and, arguably, most significant advantage of offering your employees the best pet insurance possible, is an increase in employee productivity. Believe it or not, a quality pet insurance plan can stave off decreases in productivity. This insurance can help your business by keeping your employees less stressed, which, in turn, can boost their production.
Research from Towers Watson found employees with high-stress levels have lower engagement and are less productive. And, per an Enrich Financial Wellness study, much of employee stress can be attributed to financial worries. According to Enrich, 49 percent of U.S. employees are concerned about their finances. Furthermore, 46 percent of employees consider finances their primary source of stress and 48 percent with financial stress are distracted at work.
Similarly, 73 percent of pet owners admitted they would take on debt to pay for medical care for their pets. So, we know your employees are stressed about their finances. We also understand the adverse impact this stress has these employees, and the fact they’d be willing to take on this stress to care for their pets. Luckily, pet insurance can save these employees from having to go into debt to treat their furry friends.
Therefore, you can protect your employees from this significant source of stress, and all the adverse impacts associated with it. Keeping your employees less-stressed directly correlates to improved engagement, decreased absenteeism, and increased productivity.
Pet insurance is a deeply misunderstood benefits plan feature. Yes, it’s designed to defend your workers’ four-legged friends, but at its heart pet insurance truly works to protect your employees. Help your staff avoid financial stress, protect what’s important to them, and safeguard your company’s bottom line. Pet insurance may seem insignificant to some, but for over 85 million U.S. households, it’s an invaluable benefit.