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The inspiration for Trupanion, my childhood dog Mitzy

My name is Darryl, and I had the idea for Trupanion when I was 14.

I’ve been a pet-lover from a young age. When I was little, my family had a beautiful black dog named Mitzy. Mitzy was the sweetest dog, and I loved petting her soft fur and taking her out to play.

One day my family rushed Mitzy to the emergency veterinarian, where we learned that she had a twisted stomach. At only two years old, she needed surgery to save her life. It was a relatively routine procedure, but my family just didn’t have the thousands of dollars to afford her surgery.

I was heartbroken when Mitzy passed.

Growing up, I never forgot her or how preventable her death was. I knew there had to be a better way of handling a problem faced by so many pet owners – how to fund unexpected veterinary costs.

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Mitzy, Darryl's childhood dog

My ah-ha moment

Fast forward 15 years. I graduated from college and made some money in different career paths, but I never felt content. I was left with very little money, a ton of ideas, and no direction. So, I took off to Mexico to live on the beach for three months.

At that same time I did something that would forever change my path: I adopted a dog named Monty.

Monty became my constant companion who not only kept my selfishness in check -I couldn’t stay out all night or spontaneously jump on a plane with a dog at home waiting for me - but also kept my heart in the right place as I continued building on the idea of pet medical insurance.

In 1999 I sold my cigar business and with the profits I started VetInsurance, the company that would later be branded as Trupanion.

The beginnings of Trupanion

The first days working for Trupanion were spent on my boat, The Brisa. Monty and I would work for hours, then nap on the deck in the sunshine. It wasn’t a bad life.

My goal was to create a product that was valuable to veterinarians, pet owners, and pets. The other pet insurance models at the time caused rifts between pet owners and veterinarians, and did not, in the end, help pets. If my parents would have had “pet insurance” for Mitzy when I was 14, it still wouldn’t have saved her.

That’s why I worked with veterinarians from all over the country to build a product that works for everyone – cats, dogs, pet owners, and veterinarians.

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Darryl and Monty on his boat, The Brisa

The Trupanion policy offers high-quality medical insurance meant for the lifetime of cats and dogs, to help protect the pets we all love receive the best veterinary care.

  • Our plan offers 90% coverage with no payout limits to every enrolled pet, because no pet owner should feel financially overwhelmed in a time of need.
  • We work side-by-side with veterinarians to make sure we offer one simple policy that has what it takes to serve every pet.
  • We’ve even revolutionized the pet insurance industry by simplifying and speeding up the claims process. With vet direct pay, we can pay our portion of the bill directly to veterinarians in as little as 5 minutes. It’s just one more way we help take the financial burden off of loving pet owners.

Terms and conditions apply.   See the full policy for details


Eventually, I was able to move off the boat and into an office. I hired my first employee, Ronaye Verigin. We went from our first insured pet (Monty, of course) in 2000, to 100 pets in 2001, to 1,000 pets in 2002.

Today, we have about 500 employees located all over the US and Canada, including Ronaye, who stayed with me through the entire journey. We now insure over 350,000 cats and dogs and work with over 20,000 veterinarians across North America to make the best pet health insurance plan possible.

I truly believe that if Mitzy had Trupanion pet medical insurance all those years ago, she would have lived a much longer and healthier life.

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Darryl Rawlings, Founder and CEO

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If you’d like more information on how we’re innovating in the pet insurance industry, please give us a call at 855.210.8749. We’re available 24/7 for you and your pets.

If you’d like to get in touch with me personally, please send an email to
Darryl.feedback@trupanion.com.


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