History of Pet Health Insurance

Pet Health Insurance is not new. In fact, the idea is more than 100 years old!

Special Milestones

1890 – The first pet insurance policy was written by Claes Virgin, founder of Länsförsäkrings Alliance. At that time, he focused on horses and livestock.

1924 – The first dog received insurance coverage in Sweden. It was soon followed by a policy written in Britain in 1947.

1982 – The famous TV dog Lassie received the first pet insurance policy in the United States, issued by Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI)).

1989 – Pet health insurance was introduced into the Canadian market by Petplan (now Western Financial Insurance), MediPet and Petsure.

2007 – The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) was founded to establish and maintain universal and professional standards for terminology, best practices, quality and ethics in the pet health insurance industry.

Industry Timeline

2013 – Pets Plus Us / RSA

Royal & Sun Alliance (RSA), a 300-year-old insurance company based in London, UK and one of the largest pet insurance underwriters in the world, launched Pets Plus Us, a Canadian pet insurance offering.

2012 – Trupanion

In 2012, Trupanion entered the Puerto Rico market. They were the first and are still the only pet insurance provider in Puerto Rico.

2008 – Trupanion

Trupanion insures their first pet in the United States. By this time, they were already well established in Canada.

2008 – PurinaCare

PurinaCare began offering pet insurance in the US in 2008.

2007 – Hartville Pet Insurance

In addition to its other brands and white label partners, Hartville Group’s subsidiary agency also began offering Hartville Pet Insurance in 2007.

2006 – Embrace

Embrace Pet Insurance sold its first policy on October 10, 2006, to cover co-founder Laura Bennett’s newly adopted cat, Lily.

2006 – Kroger/PetFirst

In 2006, the Kroger Company began promoting pet insurance in their pet aisles, co-branded with PetFirst Healthcare.

2006 – Petplan

In 2006, Petplan UK licensed an American company and started offering coverage in several US states.

2005 – Pets Best

The Pets Best brand launched in 2005 as a division of General Fire & Casualty (GF&C) when Founder Jack Stephens insured his Chihuahua, Torrey. In 2006, Pets Best was purchased from GF&C and became a standalone company.

2004 – PetFirst

PetFirst Healthcare launched its US operation and began issuing policies in 2004.

2004 – PetPartners/Cat Fanciers’ Association

In 2004, PetPartners was selected by the Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA), the largest registry of pedigreed cats, to become the exclusive provider of pet health insurance protection to American registrants of the CFA, as well as all cat owners of pedigreed and mixed breed cats.

2003 – PetPartners/American Kennel Club

PetPartners began in the United Kingdom in the 1980s. In 2003, PetPartners also became the exclusive provider of pet health insurance protection to registrants of the American Kennel Club (AKC) in the US, as well as all owners of purebred and mixed breed dogs.

2000 – Vetinsurance/Trupanion

Vetinsurance issued their first pet insurance policy in Canada in 2000. They rebranded as Trupanion shortly after their US launch in 2008.

1999 – PetCare

Having firmly established themselves in the Canadian marketplace, PetCare became licensed to sell pet health insurance in the US in 1999.

1998 – PetCare

In 1998, PetHealth launched PetCare, becoming the second company to promote and sell pet insurance coverage for Canadian pets.

1997 – Pethealth Care Plan

The Hartville Group’s subsidiary agency was an early market entry, offering pet insurance under its Pethealth Care Plan brand for US dogs and cats in 1997.

1989 – Petsecure

The brand known as Petsecure was the first to offer pet insurance coverage in Canada, back in 1989. Today, Petsecure is owned and underwritten by Western Financial Insurance Company.

1980 – Veterinary Pet Insurance

In 1980, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) was the first and only company offering pet health insurance in all of North America.