The Nebraska state Senate has set the legal framework for pet insurance | Nebraska Exam

LINCOLN – Insurers will have a clear basis for the creation of pet insurance in the state through a proposal to the Nebraska Legislature.

The Senate Sen. Beau Ballard of Lincoln Bill 296the Pet Insurance Act, which will establish a legal framework for policies and consumers for business growth.

The North American Pet Health Insurance Association reported in 2022 the industry was worth more than $ 2.83 billion at the end of 2021, an increase of over 30% from the previous year.

Consumer protection represents those for health insurance, including appropriate information on whether certain services are excluded from insurance, if there are waiting periods, the what is the benefits schedule for the insurance, how does the insurance and training schedule affect a pet’s pre-existing conditions. requirements for insurers.

Pet insurance buyers can use their policy more than other types of insurance even though the rates are often lower. The average insurer files a pet insurance claim 1.5 times a year, Ballard said.

Rising health care costs

Ballard said she adopted her chicken, Cosmo, last March and takes him for walks every morning, which is one of the highlights of the day.

He told the committee that if Cosmo needs more care, Ballard needs to decide whether to pay higher prices for that care.

“Just like anything else in life, veterinary costs go up,” Ballard said. “And this (type of insurance) gives some flexibility to consumers that they can get insurance and then pay for those unexpected things.”

Business professionals offer support

Michelle Muirhead, assistant vice president at Physicians Mutual Insurance Company in Omaha and a spokesperson for the pet insurance association, said her company began offering pet insurance in August 2022.

Muirhead said this came after nearly three years of work with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Nebraska Department of Insurance, veterinarians and others on how to design the policy.

He said the bill would allow pet owners to pay for medical treatment recommended by their vet, not what they can afford in a day.

The policies, with monthly premiums of $50 for dogs and $32 for cats, often cover accidents and diseases, including cancer. , infections, broken bones, toxic problems, ear infections or allergies.

“Ultimately, the industry wants consumers to be happy with their pet insurance purchase and the coverage we provide,” Muirhead said.

Robert Bell also testified in support of the Nebraska Insurance Federation and the American Property Casualty Insurance Association and explained how pet insurance is like health and life insurance even though pets are personal property.

This, said Bell, requires a different level of consumer protection.

“I’m glad I could make some rules that would allow me to bring him (Cosmo) on the witness stand, which is always a great, great opportunity,” Ballard said.

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