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Approximately 46.3 million households in the United States own dogs, and a good portion of those dog owners probably have insurance for pets. Pet health is important, and so is being in a position to afford it, which is one of the most significant reasons insurance for pets still exists today.
However, pet insurance has a longer history than many may think, and it didn’t even start in the United States. To get a better understanding of why pet insurance exists, here’s a brief look into its long history.
1890 – The very first pet insurance policy in existence was written by Claes Virgin, founder of Lansforsakrings Alliance. At that time, the plans that he wrote out focused not on domestic animals, but on livestock and other farm animals such as horses.
1924 – This is the year that the very first insurance policy was written for a dog in Sweden. This first dog insurance policy became so widespread that now approximately 50% of all dogs in Sweden are insured.
1947 – The first pet insurance policy is sold in Britain, and soon after it spread rapidly across the country. Today, an estimated 25% of all pets in Britain are insured.
1980 – A company called Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) opened its doors as the first and only company at the time that offered pet insurance policies in North America.
1982 – Ever heard of a dog named Lassie? In 1982, she was the first dog in the United States to receive a pet insurance policy because she was so famous and well-loved.
1997 – After Lassie became the first dog in the United States to receive pet insurance, companies began to spring up more often, providing more options for pet owners. One of the more notable companies that formed was the Hartville Group’s subsidiary agency, which offered pet insurance under its Pethealth Care Plan brand for both dogs and cats in the United States.
2005 – Fast forward to 2005, where almost 500,000 pets in the United States have been insured. Pet owners started to realize the benefits of insurance and quickly jumped on the bandwagon.
2007 – The North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA) was founded to establish and enforce universal and professional standards for terminology, quality, and ethics in the pet health care community.
It’s safe to say that insurance for pets has a longer and more diverse history than you might originally think. However, its history has led veterinarians and pet owners to see the importance of good pet health care and insurance, and continue to improve upon the original policies today.