As a veterinarian, you have the ability to significantly improve patient care and increase revenue by encouraging the use of pet health insurance among your clients.
Did you know?
- Clients with pet health insurance are more likely to come in sooner when an accident, illness, or injury strikes and receive the full range of care that their pet needs.
- Not only are insured pets taken to see their veterinarian more often but their owners tend to utilize services more and better follow their doctor’s recommended course of treatment.
- Owners with pet health insurance spend more per year on veterinary care. Studies show that dog owners with pet health insurance spend 29% more and cat owners with pet health insurance spend 81% more compared to owners who don’t have insurance.
- Early enrollment in a pet health insurance plan by owners will result in less difficult conversations about treatment costs down the road.
- Pet owners are more likely to insure their pets if their veterinarian recommends it.
The NJVMA recognizes the important role that veterinary teams play in educating clients on the benefits of pet health insurance. Here are five steps that you can take to encourage the use of pet health insurance in your practice.
- Select one, or at most two, pet insurance companies to recommend – The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends that veterinary practitioners identify, work with, and recommend one or two specific pet insurance companies to their clients. Pet owners view veterinarians and their staff as trusted sources for information. The more choices pet owners have, the more likely they will be confused and not take any action. Be ready with a good recommendation for one or two insurers.
- Designate one or two key staff members as your practice’s pet insurance advocates – Ideally these staff members would be full-time receptionists, hospital administrators and/or practice managers as they typically discuss financial policies of the practice with clients anyway. The designated pet health insurance advocates should be familiar enough with the recommended companies to answer basic questions and know where to direct clients for more information if required.
- Talk to your clients about pet health insurance – Verbal communication is key. A study conducted by North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) found that many veterinary clients need only a gentle nudge from a trusted veterinary professional to become policyholders. Providing pet owners with a brochure is a good first step but it typically works best when accompanied by a conversation between a veterinary professional and the pet owner. A staff member, ideally a designated pet health insurance advocate, should discuss pet health insurance with the client, then give them a brochure so they can go online or call to get more information, and if inclined, purchase a policy.
- Make pet health insurance part of your practice protocol – At a client’s initial visit begin the conversation by letting pet owners know there are options that can help offset the cost of veterinary bills resulting from potential emergency treatments including unforeseen illnesses, accidents and injuries. You can make pet insurance a regular part of every client’s visit to your practice by having your front desk personnel ask “who’s your insurer?” as clients check out after every visit. This can provide another opportunity to inform clients about the benefits of pet health insurance.
- Provide online resources – Provide links to additional resources such as the websites of the pet health insurance company or companies recommended by your practice on your own website. This makes it easy for clients to obtain more information from a trusted source, and makes your practice website the gateway to more information about pet health insurance.
For more tips on how to promote pet health insurance in your practice, download NAPHIA’s Practice Guide. The NJVMA provides the following resources to highlight the benefits of pet health insurance for pets, pet owners, and veterinarians and encourages all members to discuss the benefits of pet health insurance with clients regularly.