Nationwide dropping 100,000 pet policies. Could more companies follow?

Owners fear older dogs with preexisting conditions may have harder time finding coverage
Posted at 10:43 PM, Jun 18, 2024

LANTANA, Fla. — The insurance company Nationwide announced they're dropping 100,000 policies for people's animals.

According to the company it has to do with the rising costs of veterinarian care.

"We had a client yesterday actually call me and say, 'Oh we're so upset' because their pet that's had Nationwide insurance since they were young turned around and dropped them," Fallyn Reynolds, the officer manager at Lantana Atlantis Animal Hospital, said.

They said their client's dog is an 8-year-old cocker spaniel that has developed Cushing's disease.

Veterinarians Dog

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Nationwide is dropping pet insurance coverage for 100,000 animals

Taylor O'Bier
12:52 PM, Jun 18, 2024

It's a disease that requires regular treatment that averages to about $1,000, which the owner may now have to pay out of pocket if their insurance doesn't cover the care.

"Another client called me just a few days ago to say that they were concerned because they had dropped her one pet but dropped another pet on it," Reynolds said.

Their concern is that other pet insurance companies may follow the lead of Nationwide, and that older dogs with preexisting conditions may have a harder time finding coverage and more expensive.

Fallyn Reynolds says she has already heard from some concerned pet owners following the decision by Nationwide to cut some policies.
Fallyn Reynolds says she has already heard from some concerned pet owners following the decision by Nationwide to cut some policies.

"The biggest pro of having pet insurance is that when you do run into the major issues, they cover it," said Reynolds. "The con, you're paying out every month, and you still have to go to the vet and pay your bill so you have to wait for the reimbursement."

Staff said only about 10% of their patients have pet insurance.

"It's worrisome as the cost of everything is rising," Reynolds said.

Nationwide released the following statement regarding their decision:

"As pet lovers ourselves, we understand the emotions connected to the protection of our family pets. Inflation in the cost of veterinary care and other factors have led to recent underwriting changes and the withdrawal of some products in some states — difficult actions that are necessary to ensure a financially sustainable future for our pet insurance line of business.

These measures, being taken at a state level, comply with the law and our contracts, and are not associated with the pet's age, breed or prior claims history. This will involve the non-renewal of approximately 100,000 policies between this spring and the summer of 2025. Impacted policyholders will be notified in writing well in advance according to state law.

We certainly empathize with the disappointment many of our pet families feel and will fully stand by the protections for which they have paid through the end of their current term. Our rates will continue to be fair and appropriately priced for the plan, pet, and breed.

We are proud that we consistently pay for covered claims each and every day, amounting to billions of dollars over the past four decades. We are making these tough decisions now so that we can continue to be here for even more pets in the future.

The future is bright for Nationwide Pet. We remain focused on expanding our reach to protect more pet families while partnering to make pet care more affordable and accessible. We’ll continue to build our pet business by expanding our distribution network, establishing new partnerships and deepening the ones we have with Walmart, Petco, and our recently announced partnership with Unum."
Pamela Gonzales speaks with WPTV reporter Joel Lopez about why she has insurance for her dog.
Pamela Gonzales speaks with WPTV reporter Joel Lopez about why she has insurance for her dog.

For pet owners like Pamela Gonzales, pet insurance is a cost she's been trying to budget for.

"I think with rising costs of everything, you have to do your research," Gonzales said. "Some will be lucky and not pay a huge expense at the vet and some will say oh I wish I had gotten the pet insurance."

She's currently on the market for pet insurance for her adult dog she just rescued.

"It may seem like you're spending all this money every month, but if you have a crisis like my Jolie, our Jolie just had a mass removal and it cost a fortune," Gonzales said.

According to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association, the average yearly premium for accident and illness pet insurance in the U.S. is $640.04 for dogs and $387.01 for cats.