Trupanion launched a redesign of its website nearly two weeks ago, and it is not going well. Here’s a screen recording of Emily attempting to obtain quotes. Watch as the screen fades to white–and , then, nothing. Trupanion President Margi Tooth and CEO and founder Darryl Rawlings did not return our repeated requests seeking comment about when consumers could expect to be able to use Trupanion’s website.
We’ve been trying to obtain quotes. We cannot obtain quotes, and Trupanion is apparently just not having it today with TCR. We were going to sit on this reporting and save it for a larger upcoming story–until we realized that the website was unable to generate quotes and, therefore, unable to enroll customers.
The cost: At least $500,000 (not including in-house staffing) according to the current employee. The website is way over budget, full of bugs, and the duo leading the team, Tom Vaughan and Suzanne Cheadle, are Trupanion president Margi Tooth’s friends. Ms. Cheadle is based in Seattle and has a physical presence in office, but Mr. Vaughan, who began his position at Trupanion in June 2022, has never lived or worked in the United States, and continues to work remotely from across the pond.
“Trupanion, a leader in medical insurance for pets, announced today that it has hired Tom Vaughan to lead its marketing and conversion efforts,” a June 2022 press release declared, introducing Mr. Vaughan and Ms. Cheadle on the eve of the company’s Annual Shareholder meeting. Describing Mr. Vaughan’s role at Trupanion, the press release continued: “In his role as Senior Vice President, Conversion Marketing, Vaughan will oversee all aspects of acquisition, retention, and branded communications and campaigns for Trupanion. By driving conversion efforts this role will be pivotal in growing the number of Trupanion insured pets while helping more pet parents budget and care for their pets.”
Mr. Vaughan officially started working for Trupanion on June 10, 2022, according to the press release, which omitted another key detail: Vaughan was now leading all marketing, media strategy, branding, and communications and reported directly to Ms. Tooth.
At least three people having lodged formal complaints about Mr. Vaughan for gross “incompetence,” according to the employee. One individual, according to the employee, complained to human resources: this person was terminated in the latest round of layoffs, according to the employee. As for the two individuals who complained to Ms. Tooth directly about Mr. Vaughan for incompetence, according to the employee, these individuals made their comments on their way out the door to new roles at the company and would have been able to speak candidly about Mr. Vaughan. They were attempting to warn Ms. Tooth of a coming crisis, the employee said.