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2007 Marks Quarter of a Century of Pet Health Insurance in the United States

Veterinary Pet Insurance Celebrates 25 Years of Protecting America's Pets

BREA, Calif., Jan. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Launched with the combined vision and support of more than 700 independent veterinarians, the U.S. pet health insurance industry celebrates a quarter of a century of protecting the health of America's pets. The nation's oldest and largest pet health insurer, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI), sold its first pet health insurance policy to television's Lassie in 1982 and has insured more than a million pets since its inception.

"Although pet health insurance has been available here in the United States for 25 years, many pet owners are still unfamiliar with the protection it provides," said VPI CEO Dennis P. Drent. "Over the last several years, consumer acceptance has grown dramatically but Americans still insure less than 2 percent of their pets. With more providers entering the marketplace, heightened awareness among consumers and veterinary professionals, and the bond between humans and their pets growing ever stronger, it makes sense that marketing experts project pet health insurance to be a half-billion-dollar industry by 2010."

Founded in 1980, VPI devoted its first two years to extensive product research and development, creating a blueprint for America's first medical plan for pets. In 1982, the Company received a Certificate of Authority from the California Department of Insurance for license as a property and casualty insurance company, with the classification for pet insurance. VPI sold 6,557 policies its first year of offering indemnity-modeled medical plans to dog and cat owners in California. Today more than 400,000 pets are insured with VPI Pet Insurance and more than 1,600 companies offer it as a voluntary benefit to employees.

"VPI Pet Insurance enrollment increased significantly in the late nineties, which we attribute in part to the introduction of routine care coverage to complement our base medical plans," says Drent.

Shortly after the launch of its wellness plan, the Vaccination & Routine Care Coverage, VPI began working with corporations to have VPI Pet Insurance included in their voluntary incentive packages. Today entities such as Viacom, Home Depot and Ford Motor Company offer discounts on pet insurance as an incentive to their employees. Other VPI landmarks occurred in 1999 when the Company extended its reach to all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 2001 when they launched their VPI Avian & Exotic Plan.

According to a recent study by Packaged Facts (Pet Insurance in North America, November 2005), VPI holds 79 percent of the U.S. market for pet insurance. "Offering veterinary medical coverage to America's pet lovers at a competitive price has been a key ingredient to VPI's success and longevity," adds Drent. "VPI has seen more than 50 competitors come and go in the past 25 years. We're optimistic that the recent increase in competition is a sign that we're in an industry on the cusp of tremendous opportunity and growth."

The veterinary community appears to be in accord with Drent's hopefulness. A recent survey conducted by Advanstar Veterinary Healthcare Communications found that 86 percent of veterinarians surveyed would like to see wider usage of pet health insurance among pet owners, while 77 percent agree that pet health insurance gives their clients peace of mind.

About Veterinary Pet Insurance

Veterinary Pet Insurance Co./DVM Insurance Agency is the nation's oldest and largest pet health insurance company. Providing pet owners with peace of mind since 1982, the company is committed to being the trusted choice of America's pet lovers and an advocate of pet health education. VPI Pet Insurance plans cover dogs, cats, birds and exotic pets for thousands of medical problems and conditions relating to accidents, illnesses and injuries. Optional Vaccination & Routine Care Coverage is also available.

Medical plans are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Policies are underwritten by Veterinary Pet Insurance Company in California and in all other states by National Casualty Company, an A+15 rated company in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information about VPI Pet Insurance, call 800-USA-PETS (800-872-7387) or visit petinsurance.com.

Source: Veterinary Pet Insurance

Copyright (2007) PRNewswire. All rights reserved.

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