America’s leading pet insurer Trupanion has resumed a hard block on TCR’s server ahead of the company’s third quarter earnings report due out on November 2, 2023. This afternoon, we received an anonymous email from Trupanion. We’re publishing Trupanion’s email and our response.
Dear Trupanion Corporate Communications,
Although we have a policy of never engaging anonymous spokespersons in our reporting, we also know from Trupanion former employees that most external communications come from Margi Tooth, President of Trupanion so we’ll address this to Ms. Tooth.
Dear Ms. Tooth,
Thanks for your email.
As the leading information provider of the fast-growing industry we cover, and because yours is a company going through a lot of changes, I had many questions and starting around Sept. 2022, you stopped answering most of my questions involving regulatory activity.
So, yes, absolutely, there were many “touchpoints” because I decided to go around you after it was clear to me that you had no intention of answering the regulatory questions. That’s what good reporters do.
As for the idea that I would make any promises to anyone, let alone to you, that involve the vetting of my reporting, that’s patently absurd; in fact, I’m told by former employees it’s THE reason you elected not to renew the bulk subscription.
As for the meeting to which you refer, Mr. Rawlings made a request to meet with my father on a zoom in response to a lengthy press inquiry about regulatory action in multiple states. It was a strange reaction to a press inquiry, so I told the assistant “no.” However, when I showed up on the zoom to meet Mr. Rawlings, hoping he would finally answer my regulatory questions, he was insistent and continued to request that my father join the meeting. “I thought I told you to bring him!” He refused to engage in any discussion whatsoever unless my father joined us.
I figured, perhaps Mr. Rawlings was hoping to get my father’s business advice or discuss media strategy since those are areas where you struggle.
Instead, Mr. Rawlings held up a white board and complained about my efforts to get information and my dad did his best not to laugh. The idea that I promised not to do that and to go only to your communications person is absurd. I only agreed to go first to your communications person, but stressed that this was based on the premise – and promise – that he would be forthcoming. That never happened. Moreover, you fired your communications person and the other one is reportedly quitting. So who is the person I should have been going to first since you no longer have a communications person, and the one you had never answered my questions?
From: Corporate Communications <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Monday, October 23, 2023 2:28:59 PM (UTC-05:00) Eastern Time (US & Canada)
To: TheCanineReview@proton.me <TheCanineReview@proton.me>; email@example.com<firstname.lastname@example.org>; Emily Brill <Emily@thecaninereview.com>; Stasha Healy <Stasha@thecaninereview.com>; Help <email@example.com>
Cc: Corporate Communications <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: RE: [EXTERNAL] Leading pet insurer Trupanion resumes journalism firewall
We wanted to make it clear to you why you no longer have access to the Trupanion team.
Earlier this year, you agreed directly with Darryl and with your father as a witness, on a communications approach that would continue to provide you with access to the team in a way that worked for both parties. Our agreement was that you would work directly through our media relations team (or “Sherpa” to use your father’s term) who would vet and respond to your inquiries as we deemed appropriate.
This agreement was necessitated by the thousands of inbounds contacts including texts, emails and phone calls on which Darryl was included – preventing him from focusing on more important matters. This was in addition to the thousands of unsolicited touchpoints made to others in our team.
At the time of agreement, it was made clear to you, by Darryl, that not doing what you said would result in Trupanion ceasing contact with you. Within a few weeks, there were multiple violations of this agreement. Following these violations, Darryl directly instructed the Trupanion team to block access from inbound requests.
To be clear – your access was removed by Darryl due to your failure to do what you said you would do.
In light of these circumstances, we will continue to block any and all future correspondence to Trupanion. That includes any response to this message.
We realize that in removing your access, your ability to report accurate information has been, and will continue to be, severely diminished; this is unfortunate, but the outcome of you breaking our agreed upon process.
Trupanion Corporate Communications
ATTENTION: The information contained in this message may be confidential. It is intended to be read only by the individual or entity to whom it is addressed. If the reader of this message is not the intended recipient, any distribution of this message, in any form, is prohibited. If you have received this message in error, please immediately notify the sender and delete or destroy any copy of this message. Trupanion is a registered trademark owned by Trupanion, Inc. Underwritten in Canada by Omega General Insurance Company and in the United States by American Pet Insurance Company, 6100-4th Ave S, Seattle, WA 98108. Please visit AmericanPetInsurance.com to review all available pet health insurance products.
From: TheCanineReview@proton.me <TheCanineReview@proton.me>
Sent: Sunday, October 22, 2023 8:58 AM
Subject: [EXTERNAL] Leading pet insurer Trupanion resumes journalism firewall
Margi/Trupanion has resumed a hard server block that is preventing any communication between our server and trupanion.com. To get around this, you must register with a non-Trupanion email address for news alerts or contact me directly (from a non-Trupanion email address) and I can help you.
Here’s where you can create sign up with a non-trupanion email address for free to receive our alerts:
I would also urge you to express concern to Darryl directly given his past statements of affinity for transparency and descriptions of Trupanion as an “open book” company, though not as any favor to me or to our journalism.
It’s unprecedented to have a publicly traded, US-based company that would react to press coverage by firewalling the server. Clearly, this is an effort to prevent employees, TP’s and board members from reading our reports. Make of that what you wish.
And here’s the announcement from yesterday they didn’t want you to see—that we’re growing and assembling a high profile team to take this venture into the heavens.
You can contact me directly on my cell phone with any news tips and I can walk you through how we protect confidential news sources.
Executive Editor and Founder