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|Founded||11 September 2003|
|Founders||Chris and Natasha Ashton|
|United States and Canada|
Number of employees
Petplan Pet Insurance - North America is a Philadelphia-based pet insurance company, providing insurance for pet owners to cover veterinary bills. Petplan is the sister company of Petplan UK.
In the United States, Petplan is licensed to provide insurance in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Policies are administered by Fetch Insurance Services, LLC (Fetch Insurance Agency, LLC in Michigan), d/b/a Petplan (Petplan Insurance Agency, LLC in California) and underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company or AGCS Marine Insurance Company, a member of the Allianz Group.
In Canada, Petplan is licensed to provide insurance in all provinces and territories except New Brunswick and Quebec. Policies are administered by Fetch Insurance Services, LLC (Fetch Insurance Agency, LLC in Michigan), d/b/a Petplan (Petplan Insurance Agency, LLC in California) and underwritten by XL Specialty Insurance Company or AGCS Marine Insurance Company, a member of the Allianz Group.
Petplan was founded in September 2003 by husband and wife entrepreneurs Chris and Natasha Ashton. They met at Oxford University, where they both received their Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees.
Prior to moving to the United States in 2001 to continue their graduate school education, Chris spent seven years serving as an officer in the British Royal Marines, while Natasha spent several years working for a Greek manufacturing company and an international information technology recruitment firm. She also launched a small import business in the United Kingdom.
In July 2001, the Ashtons moved to Philadelphia with their Birman cat, Bodey, to begin working toward their MBAs at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business. Not long afterward, Bodey became ill, and the end result was a veterinary bill for $5,000. Already saddled with student debt, the Ashtons had to juggle credit cards and move to a smaller apartment to pay for Bodey's care.
The experience – along with the knowledge that in the Ashtons’ native Britain, nearly a quarter of pets are insured – gave them with an idea for a business plan. They submitted their plan, for a pet insurance company called PAWS, to the 2003 annual Wharton Business Plan Competition, and were part of the team that won the $20,000 grand prize.
That fall, the Ashtons incorporated Fetch Inc., which in November 2003 was awarded the exclusive license for the Petplan brand in the United States. The affiliation with Petplan UK allowed Petplan - North America to access more than 30 years of actuarial data.
The company took some time to get on its feet. By July 2005, the Ashtons were in debt, relying on investors and venture capital to get the company off the ground. That same month, Petplan secured American National Property and Casualty Company (ANPAC) to underwrite its policies in the United States. A year later, in July 2006, the company began selling its first policies.
Soon after, Chris Ashton approached the Penn Wharton Entrepreneurship program for advice on a national marketing plan and was directed to visiting lecturer Alan Abrahams, who assigned Petplan as a data-mining test case to his students. The students' work helped determine marketing strategies for the company, providing information on potential areas of interest.
Also in 2006, through their Wharton network, the Ashtons met Shirley and Vernon Hill, Commerce Bank founders (who now operate Metro Bank in England) and major donors to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, along with Hill's banking client, Brian Tierney, the advertising and public relations agency owner who was an entrepreneur-in-residence at Wharton that year. Hill added Petplan as an employee benefit at Commerce, and Tierney offered marketing advice. Travelocity, S.C. Johnson & Son and other employers followed Commerce, boosting Petplan's early sales.
By July 2007, the company was seeing double-digit growth each month, and was up to 10 employees. But then, Chris Ashton shattered his ankle and broke two ribs in a household accident. He endured several surgeries and six months of rehabilitation before he walked again. Complications from blood clots sent him back to the hospital twice.
After the accident, the Ashtons realized they had to create a stronger internal structure, and they needed partners to do it. With Chris still on crutches, they met with Hill in January 2008. Four months later, Petplan announced that Hill was the new chairman of the board.
In an effort to grow consumer awareness and strengthen ties to the veterinary community, Petplan launched fetch!, a glossy quarterly pet health magazine, in November 2008.
In April 2010, Chris and Natasha Ashton were named to the Philadelphia Business Journal's prestigious annual "40 Under 40" list.
In August 2011, Petplan became the first pet insurance company named to Inc. Magazine's list of the 500 fastest-growing companies in America. Coming in at No. 123, Petplan was recognized for tripling its workforce and growing its gross written premiums by more than 2,200 percent over the previous three years, despite the challenging economic climate.
In October 2011, Smart CEO magazine selected Petplan as a recipient of its 2012 "Future 50 Awards," which celebrate the Philadelphia region's 50 fastest-growing companies based on employee and revenue growth over the past three years.
In July 2012, Natasha Ashton began writing a regular column featured on the Huffington Post dealing with topics related to pet health.
Meanwhile, the employee count was also expanding, up to 40 by the beginning of 201., The office itself has had to grow to accommodate the staff, so in 2010, Petplan acquired an adjacent suite and broke through the wall to roughly double the square footage.
To further accommodate its growing staff, in August 2013, Petplan relocated to a 27,000 square-foot office space in Ellis Preserve, located in Newtown Square in Delaware County, PA. The company currently employs over 200 people.
In April 2017, Petplan formed a new partnership with XL Specialty Insurance Company, a member of XL Catlin (rated A+ S&P), with policies in some areas of the United States still covered by Allianz and AGCS Marine Insurance Company, a member of the Allianz Group.
Pet insurance covers unexpected illnesses, accidents and injuries for dogs and cats. Policies provide coverage for hereditary, congenital and chronic conditions – including cancer, diagnostic testing, nonroutine veterinary exam fees, prescription medications, nonroutine dental treatment, MRI testing, CAT scan and ultrasound imaging as standard.
It does not offer coverage for pre-existing conditions, defined as those medical conditions that first occurred or showed clinical sign(s) or symptoms before the effective date of the policy or that occurred or showed clinical sign(s) or symptoms during the policy waiting period.
Premiums are calculated based on each pet's breed, age and the cost of veterinary care in their geographic area.
Petplan offers a range coverage, from $2,500 to unlimited annual coverage per year. Policyholders select an annual or per-condition deductible, which gets deducted from reimbursement after the co-pay has been applied, and also choose a reimbursement percentage once the deductible is met.
Petplan offers a range of deductible options:
- Annual Deductible: An annual deductible is applied once per policy term to all covered conditions.
- Per-Condition Deductible: A per-condition deductible is applied to each separate condition during the policy term.
- Coronavirus Pandemic Offer: Remote coverage services added to members, $25 Amazon gift cards to prepare a “Pet Readiness Kit” to those who abide instructions.
Petplan also provides pet health information and resources for its policyholders in several ways via its website in the form of a Condition Checker that highlights common breed-specific ailments, and a Health Tips section, which break down those ailments and others, explaining the causes, symptoms and treatment options.
Petplan's fetch! blog features seasonal advice for pet health, written by a team of veterinary professionals.
In November 2008, Petplan launched fetch! magazine, a glossy quarterly pet health magazine filled with veterinarian-authored and -reviewed content. A subscription to fetch! magazine is included with every pet insurance policy issued by Petplan. Each issue is uniquely themed, and the article topics developed for each issue apply to both dog and cat owners.
fetch! magazine has won several awards, including a Stevie Award from the American Business Association for Best In-House Publication, and a Vetty Award from the Animal Health Marketing Awards for the "Winter Wonderland" issue in 2017.
In late October 2011, Capital BlueCross announced it would begin selling Petplan pet insurance to its members. Premiums, deductibles and coverage levels are paid by plan members, and the policies are administered electronically by Petplan.
North Shore Animal League America
In May 2011, Petplan was selected by North Shore Animal League America (NSALA), the no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization, as their exclusive pet insurance provider.
Petplan and NSALA make available an introductory pet insurance policy that waives the first 30 days of premium for pet health insurance to all newly adopted pets from the Animal League. Adopter's Advantage covers accidents, illnesses, surgeries and prescription medications. During this initial 30-day period, the policy provides claim coverage of up to $1,000.
National Police Dog Foundation
In June 2017, Petplan announced the launch of the National Police Dog Foundation K-9 Health Insurance Grant, which provides pet insurance to active police and other working K-9 units throughout the United States. The first five recipients of the grant were announced on September 13, 2017.
Philanthropic Efforts and Relationships
Morris Animal Foundation
As a partner in Morris Animal Foundation's philanthropic efforts, for every policy holding pet that passes away, Petplan donates $15 to Morris Animal Foundation - a nonprofit organization that invests in science to advance animal health - in their memory.
Tournament of Tails
In 2014, Petplan started Tournament of Tails to help raise money and awareness for animal shelters across the United States. Based on the concept of NCAA March Madness brackets, Tournament of Tails helps bring awareness to shelter animals by creating a mock competition in which site visitors vote for 32 shelter pets based on their pictures and stories. Winners move on to the next round, and the last remaining contestant takes home $5,000 for their shelter. Petplan makes additional donations for every participating shelter, with each earning more as their contestants move up the bracket. In 2017, the Tournament garnered 261,496 votes with many of the contestants finding homes.
In August 2017, Petplan pledged $30,000 to support animal rescue operations in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The $30,000 donation was equally distributed among Best Friends Animal Society®, The Humane Society of the United States and North Shore Animal League America, with each receiving $10,000 to further their rescue efforts.
In 2017, Cleveland Browns defensive lineman Danny Shelton was recognized by Petplan for his generous work in the shelter community, along with his unwavering love of animals and responsible pet parenting practices. In August 2017, Shelton contributed an additional $25,000 with Petplan to support rescue efforts in the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey in Texas.
Best Friends Animal Society® Save Them All®
In 2018, In 2018, Petplan joined with Best Friends Animal Society as a partner in the Save Them All® campaign, with a goal of providing homeless pets with safe, no-kill sanctuaries where they can stay until they are adopted.
- April 2010: Chris and Natasha Ashton both named to the Philadelphia Business Journal's annual "40 Under 40" list.
- August 2011: Petplan is named No. 123 on Inc. Magazine's Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing companies in America.
- October 2011: Chris and Natasha Ashton named to SmartCEO magazine's "Future 50" list.
- October 2011: Chris and Natasha Ashton, along with chairman Vernon Hill, are featured in a Fortune magazine article and blog post titled, "A Health Care Plan for Fido."
- November 2012: Petplan Chairman Vernon Hill on CNN's Mad Money with Jim Cramer.
- February 2013: Petplan is featured on the Forbes America's Most Promising Companies List.
- October 2016: Petplan is named one of the "Best Entrepreneurial Companies in America" by Entrepreneur magazine's 2016 Entrepreneur 360™ List.
- December 2016: Chris and Natasha Ashton named to Philadelphia Business Journal's "Most Admired CEO" List.
- October 2017: Natasha Ashton is named one of Main Line Today Magazine's "Women on the Move."
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