As the proverbial war for talent rages on, companies are always looking at ways to differentiate themselves and offer benefits that meet a wide range of professional and personal needs. Companies have added benefits to help support new families and working parents, to help new graduates repay student loans - and not to be forgotten, programs that are focused on our cutest family members - our pets!
I’m an animal lover. I have two cats, Claudio and Diego, and a new French bulldog puppy, Mia. My pets mean a lot to me, and like many others, they are an important part of my life and my family. From pet health insurance to “bring your dog to work” cultures- pet-related benefits and perks have become an increasingly popular way for companies to differentiate themselves from run-of-the-mill offerings.
The Exposition Hall at the 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (#SHRM19) is the perfect place to learn about various pet programs you can offer your employees. I first encountered ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance at a SHRM Annual Conference several years ago. They’ve been on the forefront of helping companies find an easy way to offer employees access to discounted pet insurance - and they’ll be back at #SHRM19! I spoke with Scott Taylor, AVP of Partnerships at ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance.
What is your history with the SHRM conference, what keeps you coming back and what are you hoping to get out of the experience?
We’ve been active at SHRM Annual Conferences for more than a decade. It’s a great opportunity to position our brand in front of human resources leaders from companies large and small, as well as different industries. In addition, it’s great to meet new people and reconnect with folks we’ve been seeing at the show for years.
At a high level, can you describe how your Pet Insurance program works - for employers and employees?
Pet health insurance provides reimbursement for covered veterinary services for dogs and cats (we also have an equine product in a small number of states). Reimbursement is a percentage of the actual vet bill, ranging from 70 to 90 percent, after the deductible, up to a preselected annual limit. In most cases, the pet parent pays the veterinarian as they normally would, then submits the invoice as a claim.
There is no network and you don’t have an insurance card, so the pet owner can take their dog or cat to any licensed veterinarian in the U.S. and Canada.
Coverage includes accidents, illnesses, dental disease, hereditary conditions, behavioral issues and more. In addition, we offer an accident-only option. Finally, for a little more cost, we offer Preventive Care Coverage for vaccines, dental cleanings, and screenings.
From the employer-perspective, we work with businesses to offer pet health insurance as a voluntary benefit to their workforce. In fact, pet insurance is often cited as one of the top trends in the employee benefits space. Our goal is to make it as simple as possible for HR leaders to incorporate our insurance into their existing benefits portfolio. So, we offer marketing collateral, API integration (think of this as our enrollment engine “hosted” on their benefits website), and the ability to offer payroll deduction. Another aspect is that, unlike human healthcare benefits, we don’t limit signups to an “open enrollment” period.
Benefits for pets seem to be a growing trend for companies - what do you think is driving this?
Consumer demand, on behalf of their employees. We say it quite often: pets are dependents, too. They are part of the family. As an employer, your benefit offerings should reflect that.
What other pet-related benefits or perks have you seen companies offering their employees?
One pet-related perk that’s grown in popularity, and something our own workforce can relate to, is allowing employees to bring their dogs to work every day. There are many benefits to this, including reduced stress, better communication and teamwork, improved recruiting and retention, promotion of a healthier lifestyle, and better morale.
Can you discuss a little bit about your relationship with the ASPCA and how that works - how does their non-profit organization benefit from their partnership with you?
Founded in 1997, we’re one of the original pet insurance providers in the U.S. In 2006, as part of a strategic partnership with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals® (ASPCA®), we introduced our most recognizable and impactful brand, ASPCA® Pet Health Insurance.
The ASPCA® is not an insurer and is not engaged in the business of insurance. Through a licensing agreement, the ASPCA receives a royalty fee that is in exchange for use of the ASPCA’s marks and is not a charitable contribution.
What is one bit of advice you have for first time attendees to the SHRM conference?
The goal is to network, so most people are geared up to talk and talk and talk. Yes, that’s important. But be quick to listen, too. It may seem like a very basic concept, but pay attention when you’re booth hopping and force yourself to be an engaged listener.
Lastly - where can attendees find you in at #SHRM19 in Las Vegas?
In the Exposition Hall at Booth #2262!