As uncomfortable as some members of the pet insurance industry’s trade group, NAPHIA, including NAPHIA Board president Rick Faucher, may have been reading by this story, it’s worth noting that for an industry with less than 3% market penetration in the United States, Mr. Faucher and others may find that it is not the best strategy to instruct pet insurance companies not to talk to reporters who are trying to cover the industry fairly and accurately.
TCR has made pet insurance a top reporting priority since we launched in late 2019. We think the intersection of veterinary care and pet insurance is the most important, dynamic business and policy story in the pet world and we’re going to continue to cover it.
Mr. Faucher, who has declined our requests to speak for over a month, even on background, is also reportedly incensed by the featured image for this story because it depicts veterinarians as in a fight with insurance companies. Well, yes. That’s because the AVMA’s and NAPHIA’s representatives were at odds. We thought the image appropriately reflected what we reported based on the interchanges during a public hour-long meeting (which TCR attended for the full hour via WebEx) during which the AVMA’s and NAPHIA’s representatives disagreed with each other’s positions, so much so that the task force chair Don Beatty told the groups that if they would “just work something out,” he would buy them drinks, adding that he had not intended to make a lifelong career out of chairing the Pet Insurance working group task force.
Trupanion was also put in a tough spot and handled it admirably. This was probably not a story Trupanion wanted any more than Mr. Faucher apparently wanted a story that reported that his trade group took a position opposing the AVMA’s position and vice versa. Maybe Mr. Faucher and his colleagues were embarrassed to find themselves opposite not only the AVMA but insurance leader Trupanion.
To Trupanion’s credit, the reason the question of whether Trupanion supported NAPHIA’s proposed language – language that the veterinarians, through their AVMA representatives, opposed because, the AVMA representatives said, the language lacked sufficient protections for consumers – seemed obvious and newsworthy to us is that the company frequently takes opportunities to highlight differences between its policies and standards — and everyone else’s.