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My Visit to Trupanion

6a011279048cad28a401bb08b4b165970dLast week, I visited Trupanion in Seattle. I was invited and hosted by Dr. Steve Weinrauch – the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer at the company.

I was joined on the visit by Robin, the practice manager at Advanced Animal Care of Colorado. I had interviewed the owner of that practice, Dr. Heather Steyn, for a podcast episode in 2015 about how they were using Trupanion Express to promote pet insurance in their practice.

Traditionally, the way pet insurance has worked is the client pays the veterinarian for the services rendered in full, and then files a claim with the insurance company to get reimbursed for whatever is covered under the terms of the policy minus the deductible and copay.

I’ve always maintained that many pet owners cannot afford to pay a large bill out-of-pocket and then wait for reimbursement. So, Darryl Rawlings, the Founder and CEO of Trupanion, put together a team several years ago to come up with an alternative to the traditional reimbursement model.

In early 2013, the company introduced Trupanion Express which allows the company to pay the veterinarian directly up to 90% of the bill. The pet owner would only have to pay the deductible, copay and anything not covered under the terms of the policy out-of-pocket.

The claim is filed electronically by the hospital before the client checks out, and amazingly most decisions about coverage, payments, etc. are decided within 5 minutes so that the client can pay their part of the bill and Trupanion pays the hospital the rest when the client actually checks out.

Robin gets to see how Trupanion Express works on the hospital side at Advanced Animal Care, but we got an in-depth look at what happens behind the scenes at Trupanion when trial policies are initiated, medical records are reviewed and claims are filed, etc.

6a011279048cad28a401bb08b4b123970dOn any given day, employees will bring up to 200 pets to work with them at Trupanion. I met many of them during the tour of the offices. Here you can see “Thea” who wants to play ball and belongs to Hillary, a Veterinary Systems Specialist who works to support hospitals with Trupanion Express.

Trupanion also recently started an in-house day care facility for their employees with young children – provided at no cost.

Robin and I ate lunch with Steve, Renee (the first employee at Trupanion), Darryl Rawlings and a few others. It was good to finally meet and chat with Darryl after talking with him on the phone for several years, emailing each other and interviewing him on a podcast.

I appreciate the invitation to visit Trupanion and the hospitality extended to me by Steve, Darryl, and all the other folks I met while there. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting Robin from Advance Animal Care and the insights that she shared about her experience using Trupanion Express. Interestingly, she came to veterinary medicine after working in the human health field (managed care) and gave Trupanion Express an enthusiastic endorsement.

Check out the following podcast episodes:

About the Author: Dr. Doug Kenney is a veterinarian in Memphis, Tennessee, and owner of the Pet Insurance Guide website, where you’ll find unbiased coverage of pet insurance from a veterinarian’s perspective with a focus on companies that offer policies to pets in the United States. See the original article here.

Valentine’s Day is Going to the Dogs, Literally

Puppy on Valentines Day

Pet Owners Love their Pets on Valentine’s Day

Pets are a part of Valentine’s Day now more than ever. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans expected to spend $18.9 billion on Valentine’s Day last year with $703 million of that sum spent on pets.

As pet lovers, we weren’t surprised, but we decided to take it a little further. We asked pet owners about their Valentine’s Day plans, and this is what we found:

  • 40% of respondents would rather spend Valentine’s Day with their dog or cat than their significant other.
  • 45% of respondents plan to include their pet in their Valentine’s Day by buying them a gift. The most popular choice for gifts were toys and treats.
  • Of those pet owners who plan to buy a gift for their pet, 47% plan to spend at least $25, but a few (2%) expect to spend $75 or more on their cats and dogs.

Pet owners who don’t plan to get their pets a gift this year should also take note—many pets who aren’t directly involved in Valentine’s Day plans find other ways to participate. We looked into our database and found that some cats and dogs are getting far more involved in Valentine’s Day than their owners might hope. Every year, pets are responsible for ingesting Valentine’s gifts of chocolates, earrings, flowers, and even ladies underwear.

Chocolate is the biggest target of Valentine’s-related heists. Canines can’t resist the opportunity to snag some human food, and they don’t realize how toxic it can be. Last February, Trupanion received 56 chocolate ingestion and toxicity claims— that’s 2 per day—and paid more than $20,000 on chocolate toxicity alone. Dogs have accounted for 99% of chocolate ingestion claims since 2013.

Trupanion’s Valentine’s Claims

Here are Trupanion’s 3 most quirky Valentines-related claims:

  • In North Carolina, a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy with some expensive taste ate a pearl earring. Trupanion paid $1,077.66 for the x-ray, surgery, and follow up treatments.
  • A pet owner in Washington was concerned her Pomapoo may have swallowed a pair of ladies underwear. An x-ray and exploratory surgery later, veterinarians extracted a medium-sized pair of undies. Trupanion paid $1,111.06.
  • A Labrador Retriever in British Columbia was rushed to the vet when she collapsed after eating two pounds of fudge and a couple milk chocolate lollipops. The high amount of sugar irritated a stomach ulcer in her gut and Trupanion covered $3,696.20 toward her diagnosis and treatments.

Whether or not you plan to involve your pets in Valentine’s Day gifting plans this year, you should keep them in mind. For more details on pets’ Valentine’s Day mischief, go here.

10 Hidden Wintertime Dangers for Your Pet

Winter can be hard on everyone. Cold temperatures and inclement weather often create dangerous conditions. While you’re looking out for your own well-being this winter season, make sure you remember to look out for your pets, too. They need more than just fur to stay healthy and safe in the cold.

Here are 10 wintertime dangers for your pet you should consider.

The Dos and Donts of Housetraining a New Puppy


Few things are as exciting as a new puppy. They are sweet, lovable, and so darn cute! Puppies are just like babies, and with each comes a whole new set of responsibilities; you have to teach them how to communicate their needs, interact with other people and animals, and how to take care of their business in the proper spot. Starting to housetrain a puppy can feel overwhelming, and there is so much information out there, but these simple housetraining do’s and don’ts will get you started on the right path.

Alleviating Stress


Rocket’s Story

“There are no words to express my gratitude to Trupanion for being there for my dog Rocket and me. ‘Your Pet is Family.’

I adopted Rocket when he was one year old. I went with an insurance company that paid for wellness checks and annual exams. As Rocket got older he had bilateral elbow surgery. He also had two episodes of bloat. I was not happy with the reimbursement I was getting from the insurance company.

One day when I was at Natick Animal Clinic, they recommended Trupanion. I immediately enrolled him. I chose the most comprehensive coverage Trupanion offered. I promised him I would provide him with whatever medical care he needed. Every person who decides to adopt or buy a pet needs to take into consideration medical costs over a lifetime. Rocket developed right hind end lameness. The hind end lameness got worse and he started having episodes of both sudden and intermittent collapse. An MRI was performed and showed points on his vertebrae that were causing his symptoms. He underwent a dorsal laminectomy for a spinal compression. He recovered from that but his sudden and intermittent collapses continued.

I received the catastrophic confirmation that Rocket had a meningioma on the brain stem. This was inoperable and now I had to decide whether to do radiation. I could not bear the thought of not doing everything possible for him.

Trupanion is covering his very expensive medications and constant supportive care. Since 2012, Trupanion has paid out over $27,000 and that figure grows weekly.

Trupanion alleviated the stress of his situation. I know many people that have had to make that unbearable decision to let their beloved pets go because they could not afford the care.

When calling Trupanion, every single representative has been supportive, caring, helpful and sincere.”