GlobalData Plc

US-style pet insurance employee benefits yet to take off in the UK

Employers in the US are increasingly adding pet insurance to employee benefit schemes in a bid to attract talent and promote loyalty.

According to Nationwide, as many as one in three Fortune 500 companies now provide pet insurance to employees in an attempt to attract the best talent. The Society for Human Resource Management estimated that 9% of private US employers offered some form of pet insurance as an employee benefit in 2016.

VPI and Petplan US both provide such policies through their employee benefits packages, alongside health, dental, home, and motor insurance. Microsoft, Ikea, and Hewlett Packard are examples of large companies that offer pet insurance to employees.

The strategy is seen as an effective way to target millennials in the US. This segment makes up the country’s largest proportion of both pet owners and the workforce. Millennials have a reputation for switching jobs more than previous generations, so offering improved benefits should increase loyalty.

The trend is far less common in the UK, which is surprising given that the UK pet market is more established, with an estimated penetration rate of 30% compared to just 2% in the US according to the market experts we spoke to. Discounts on pet insurance are available to NHS staff through Health Service Discounts, but few private companies have followed suit.

Yet other similar benefits are emerging. Scottish craft beer company BrewDog offers “Pawternity leave” of up to a week to employees with a new puppy, while Mars Petcare has a similar policy offering up to 10 hours of paid leave. These examples suggest there is interest in pet-related employee benefits, and extending this to pet insurance could help employers win the loyalty of their employees.

By Ben Carey-Evans, General Insurance Analyst

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