My guest today is Diana grits marker, a senior business development rep and embrace. Who will give us an update about what's happening at embrace. Diana thanks so much for being on the podcast today and tell our listeners a little bit about your background and what you do it embrace. Well, thank you so much for having me dr Kenny. I've been really looking forward to speaking with you. I'm a senior business development rep here to embrace pet insurance. I actually started my career in the veterinary industry. I worked as a veterinary assistant for six years, both during and after college. Prior to coming to embrace, I came to embrace. It will be seven years this week actually seven years ago and I started out on our veterinary channel. My focus was working directly with our veterinary hospitals, educating them on the value of pet insurance and who embrace was over the years. I've also worked with some of our breeders as well as our shelter and rescue organizations. Currently my role here at embrace. I'm a member of our business development team. My focus is primarily our affiliate relationships. Okay, so tell me a little bit about your breeder and shelter program. Yeah, so with our readers and our shelter rescue organizations, we are able to extend a discount on our accident and illness plan, um, provide educational materials that they can include in their puppy packs. It's a great time to start on the insurance since you're bringing that new puppy home or you just adopted a new dog or cat. That's the time that you want to start looking into insurance for your pets. So the breeder just introduces two new pet owner to embrace. They don't actually have a policy already on the pet when it's adopted. Is that right? Okay. I've interviewed several representatives and embrace most notably, uh, Laura Bennett, your co founder and my listeners have learned a lot about embrace. So have there been any significant changes to the embrace policy lately? You know, there hasn't been any significant coverage changes to our policy over the last year or two. We've always really prided ourselves and having extremely comprehensive coverage. So luckily we haven't had to make too many changes to it. The most recent change specifically to the coverage would be the addition of our dental illness coverage into our accident and illness plan. That's up to $1,000 per year. Um, that would be our most recent change. There's also been some other slight changes, for example, are 10% multi pet discount. It used to be five and increased to 10. Uh, we are also always looking for ways to improve one area has been with our, my embrace portal. We also offer an app. Now you have that ability to take a picture of your invoice and submit your claim that way as well. So it makes things much easier for a policy voter perspective. Okay. And it looks like you've increased your annual maximum. Yes. Um, you know, we have always also felt that one of our key differentiators is full personalization of those policy parameters with embrace. You're not locked into unlimited or 90%. You have complete flexibility to choose your maximum deductible and reimbursement percentage. Now as things have changed and you see more expensive claims coming in, of course we had to increase those annual maximums. So that is something that is different. The other thing that we have done is we now have an unlimited options available that is available in most states. So those that are looking for an unlimited option can call in, they can speak with one of our pet insurance advisors and choose that for their pet if it works for their budget. Being able to customize a policy is so important because that really not only helps the pet owner decide what kind of coverage they would like for the pet, but it also allows them to make it budget friendly. Yes, that's key. You know, it's really up to what's gonna work best for your budget and your pets needs. And the great thing would embrace, even though our coverage is so comprehensive, you essentially get to pick that price point. You know, you can still afford coverage with embrace because of that full personalization of those policy parameters. Okay, I'd like to just briefly go over some significant coverage. Is that in the embrace policy includes that I think are important from my perspective as a veterinarian Number one, you cover the exam fee. Yeah, that's probably the first thing you're going to see on any invoices, that exam fee, we do cover that standard. It's automatically built into our policy for covered conditions. And it's important to note that that's regardless of where fettucine. So even if you're at your primary or you go to especially practice or you have a consultation with the behaviorist, for example, that is still recovered standard under our XML is plan. Um, you know, when you don't have that coverage that can really add up for every time you have to go in for an exam for covered condition, some pet owners may not realize that the fee for the exam for the can be significantly higher at an emergency clinic or especially hospital. Yes. Yes. Or just that consult charge alone, even if they're not doing any diagnostics that day, that can be a significant portion of that bill. The feedback I get from pet owners, they can't believe that the exam fee is not covered by some companies. I just think they don't think about it. They don't realize it and it's something that we heavily promote because we feel that that's important. Yeah. Alternative therapies and rehabilitation, like acupuncture chiropractic hydrotherapy, laser treatments and so forth that's becoming more and more popular and recommended by veterinarians. So from my perspective, I feel like that's something that pet owners need to look at to possibly include in their coverage. Yeah. You know, especially because you don't know what could have happened down the road. You know, if your pet, let's say does tear their cruciate and part of that involves hydrotherapy as rehabilitation. That is something that would be covered under our plan for 12 weeks, post that surgery. Um, you know, it's important to consider those those coverage features even if you've not had that done on your pet before, just so that you have it. Um, and with embrace, it's nice because we don't have any writers. It's one simple plans. You're not having to worry about adding on a writer for alternative therapies. Yeah, that's a good point because some companies just don't cover it at all. And some companies make it optional. Yeah. You cover treatment for behavioral problems. Yes. The big proponent of this, especially with what's going on right now with the pandemic and one of the fears is what's going to happen when people are back at the office full time or pets going to have severe separation anxiety, have to put on medication. So it's important that you have a pet insurance provider that covers behavioral conditions. Um, you know, whether that be with us, it would be if you have to go see a veterinary behaviorist that consult fee would be covered. FDA approved medications will be covered. All of that is important to look for in a pet insurance provider. And you already mentioned you recently added the dental illness coverage up to $1,000 per year. And this is things like periodontal disease, oral cancer extractions, root canals possibly crowns, I assume. Um, feline tooth resort option. Uh, stone mastitis. Those type things. Yeah. Anything that's preventative. So your routine cleanings are still going to fall under our wellness plan. But specific treatment for periodontal disease would fall under dental illness up to $1,000 per year. Okay. You know, here again, I'm amazed dental coverage is something that is just all over the mountains from company to company. And I think head owners maybe don't realize how frequently veterinarians c dental problems. It's probably one of the most frequent things we see, especially if you've got a small breed dog tend to have more dental issues than your large breed dog. Um, it's definitely more common and you know, it can be expensive. So it's important to have coverage for something like that. Yeah, I once heard that explain what you just brought up about small breed dogs. I heard it explained this way. The reason they have more dental problems is they've got the same number of teeth squeezed into a much smaller mouth. That is a very good point. I'd like to talk with you about three things that I believe help set embrace apart. First of all, the healthy pet deductible. Yes. Um you know, we were the first company to offer something like this and we offer the industry's best diminishing deductible feature. What that means for us is that every year you have not received an accident or illness claim reimbursement. We contribute $50 towards your pets deductible that continues every year. Then when you go to use your insurance deductible might even be zero because we've been chipping away at it for you. Um This is really nice because it really rewards pet owners that it's not a bad thing your pets healthy right now and that we will be there for them when they need us and encourages them to stick with that coverage and we never want to Murphy's all situation where they haven't had to use it. They dropped their coverage. Sure enough, something happens to their pet. This is just a way to reward those healthy pets. A couple of things we need to talk about here is wellness claims. Don't count toward that. Is that right correct? Wellness is completely separate than the insurance. It's not an insurance product so it's handled a little bit differently. Okay, They can still file claims during the year, but just as long as they aren't maybe don't meet their deductible and aren't reimbursed, then that counts too. Yes, that is correct. That's really important to understand that it doesn't mean that you can't submit claims. It just means that to get that, that feature means you have not gotten any reimbursement back on an accident or illness claim. Okay, you brought up your wellness rewards. It's a little bit unique. I think it was, y'all were the first company to actually come up with this concept. Most companies have a defined benefit schedule that they reimburse wellness claims uh, with explain the way embrace, does it? Yeah, artist is a little bit unique compared to some of the others out there. As I mentioned, it's not built into the insurance, a completely separate products. You don't have to have it, but it's always there for you if you want to add it on, um, you can have it one year, take it off the next. It is allotment amount based. So it's 2 54 50 or 6 50. You choose which one you want. It's always 100% reimbursement back up to the chosen allotment amount. So we don't have any line and limitations, meaning we don't say you can get this much for heartworm track this much for vaccines. It's very flexible in how you use that wellness coverage. You want to use the entire amount towards a routine dental cleaning for your pet. You could do. So if you want to use it all towards grooming and vaccinations, you could do so as well. Very flexible. We're not telling them, you know, specifically how they should spend that money and embrace has some pretty unique things they cover in their wellness that a lot of companies don't cover, Like penn Hill evaluations for hip dysplasia and gastro pixie in those type things even training um, for dogs and cats don't want to forget about the cats. Um training would be would fall under that plan as well, grooming um grooming supplies like your shampoos. That would fall under wellness. So you do have a list of things that are included in the wellness package. You just don't limit how much pet owners can spend on any one of those things. Is that right? Yeah. We don't say how much you can get back her item. Okay. And the other thing that has always impressed me about embrace and uh y'all may have been the first one to actually openly encourage this is having a medical record review done after a pet is signed up to inform pet owners if there are any pre existing conditions that won't be covered. Yeah. We do offer a free medical history review once you enroll that it's something that you do have to request, um we also offer a 30 day money back guarantee. So let's say you do have that performed. You're not very comfortable with the coverage of your pet has more pre existing conditions and you're comfortable with, Then you can cancel those 1st 30 days for a full refund as long as you have not filed a claim that really works hand in hand with that. Another thing I want to point out about our medical history review is that we do distinguish between curable and incurable pre existing conditions and that's important because your pet might have a curable preexisting condition. What that means? It's a temporary exclusion as long as they go symptoms treatment free for 12 months or more than we can reinstate coverage moving forward in most cases. So when you do a medical history review and you come across a problem that's not obviously chronic like diabetes or something like that, it's usually or can be an acute condition. You will come back with your report and say this problem is not covered for a specific length of time. But after that length of time, if the pet hasn't had any symptoms of this in the future, then it will be covered. Is that right? Yes. It can be covered in most cases. Okay. So just to kind of wrap up here, where do you see the industry going in the future? You know, I think there's going to be continual awareness. When I first started with embrace every time I said where I worked, it was always that wait for a pet insurance. That that's a thing I've actually watched it evolved where now when I say where I work, it's more of a, I've been meaning to look into that or I've heard about pet insurance, tell me more. I think the awareness is starting to get there. We're starting to see companies offering pet insurance as a benefit. I see that continuing over time. People are waiting longer to have kids, maybe not having kids at all. So having pet insurance added to a benefit can be hugely beneficial to accompany. Um, I see continuation of simplification of the claims process. You know, it has to be simple for both veterinarians as well as policyholders. So, um, continuing things like apps and things like that to help with that process And then other differentiators, you know, ways to set companies apart as coverage gets similar, more companies enter the market. Um, some of those ways could be like we offer 24/7 pet health support line for example, to set companies apart. So I see some of those things changing as the industry continues to evolve. You know, I first started investigating pet insurance as a small animal practitioner around 2008, which is not long after embrace launched and there were several penny insurance companies that launched about that same time within that two or three year period and they all offered something that looked drastically different than what was available on the market as time has gone on. The new companies coming into the market have looked at the landscape and have, I guess you might say not made the same mistakes the early companies did and to their credit that some of the older companies have changed to become more like embrace and the newer companies. So it's kind of weird as time has gone on pet insurance policies are becoming that they start looking more and more alike and a little bit less differentiation and so the challenge for pet insurance companies now, as you said, is to try to come up with differentiators to try to set themselves apart. Yeah, listen, you have done a super job explaining embraces policy and this will be just an update sorter to what we've covered before, but much quicker, not in much detail. Right to the point, so to speak. Well. It's been a pleasure speaking with you. I have to say that I've listened to your podcast over the years and I was really excited to get to chat.