Trupanion’s success can be attributed to our Territory Partners more than anything else. Our Territory Partners are pet-passionate visionaries who help educate veterinarians, their staff, and their local communities to understand how medical insurance for pets can benefit pets, pet owners and the veterinary community. Our Territory Partners are the vital link between Trupanion and veterinary practices, and the reason more and more veterinarians recommend Trupanion to their clients. They come from varying backgrounds in veterinary medicine and sales but all of them are incredibly driven and have a common thread – a strong passion for pets and Trupanion’s mission to care for them all.
Meet Karen Belanger
Territory: Alberta / Vancouver Island
Sign date: 2003
Karen Belanger was Trupanion’s first-ever Territory Partner.
“I remember the day that I was introduced to Trupanion, formerly Vetinsurance, very clearly. It was the year 2000 and I was attending the University of Victoria and working part-time at the Juan De Fuca Veterinary Clinic. It was an unusually quiet day at the clinic and I was happily completing my duties as receptionist and veterinary assistant when in walked two gentlemen, Darryl and David. They were there to meet with Dr. Basterfield and talk about pet insurance. I was familiar with the concept of pet insurance but wasn’t well versed in the details. They were in the exam room for quite a while and when the two gentlemen left, Dr. Basterfield placed a brochure in front of me. He stated ‘This is a brand new pet insurance company called Vetinsurance and we are going to start recommending them. I think they’re going to be really big one day’.”
From that day forward Karen was hooked. She recommended Vetinsurance to every customer that walked through the door and researched the company and what it offered. A few years later, she graduated with her BSc in Biology. She was at a crossroads of what to do with her life and moved back to her hometown, Calgary, to work as a receptionist and veterinary assistant in another veterinary hospital. She continued to recommend Trupanion to her clients.
“It was absolutely heartbreaking for me to see pet owners sacrifice their pet’s well-being or euthanize their pets because they couldn’t afford the veterinary treatment. Those scenarios not only affect the pet and pet owner, but also the veterinarian and their team. I remember many times going home after work and having a good cry because of the poor family that had to say good-bye to their pet that day. Many of these traumatic events could have been easily prevented if they had had pet insurance. Vetinsurance just made sense to me, so I continued to be a walking advertisement for them.”
She decided to take control of her passion and contacted Vetinsurance directly in 2003. She faxed in her resume and told Darryl, Trupanion’s founder and CEO, that she wanted to work for him. When he said he wasn’t hiring and to call back in three months, she did just that.
Darryl explained a unique business model he was developing called the Territory Partner Model—which allowed individuals to own their own business and focus on educating the veterinary community. She was intrigued so she borrowed $200 to fly to Vancouver and have lunch with Darryl—then she became the first signed Territory Partner.
“I worked part-time at a boarding kennel on weekends for the first year that I was a Territory Partner. I didn’t take a single day off for over a year. I was determined to make this model work and to succeed in getting more pets enrolled with Vetinsurance. I knew that more pets with pet insurance would result in happy pet owners and veterinarians.”
Over ten years later, Karen is still a TP with Vetinsurance, now Trupanion. She has grown from one (herself) to a team of four growing her own business and revenue by over 20% each year for the past ten years.
“Not many people can wake up every day and say they love what they do but I can honestly say that being a Territory Partner is the most rewarding and fun position available. I basically spend my days talking to veterinarians and veterinary employees about something that I strongly believe in— pet insurance. I am not a sales person but an advocate and educator. There is nothing better than walking into a veterinary hospital and having a pet owner give you a giant hug because Trupanion saved her pet’s life. Or the countless stories I hear about how we helped prevent financial euthanasia. Sure, the money is nice, but to me it’s knowing that I am helping to make a difference in people’s and pet’s lives that drives my motivation.”
Think you have what it takes to become a Territory Partner? Check out our current Territory Partner job opportunities.