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TrustedPals Interview

From Audio: TrustedPals Pet Insurance - Episode 54

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station description Health Insurance Isn't Just For People Anymore
Pet Insurance Guide Podcast
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Duration: 15:19
Discussion with Jo Phillips about the TrustedPals policy
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Discussion with Jo Phillips about the TrustedPals policy
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Hello everyone. And I'm glad you're listening today because I'm talking with joe phillips, the lead program manager with trusted pals. Pet insurance company. Trusted pals is owned by Marsh, a global leader in insurance brokering and risk management. As the program manager, jo. And her support team oversees the technology that delivers their product and services as well as assisting policyholders with claims, payments, coverage changes and so forth. As you've heard me say before. Pet insurance isn't a one size fits all product. Every company has its pros and cons, joe told me that when they designed trusted pals, they tried to develop one simple accident and illness plan with a wellness option that can be customized to fit almost any budget without sacrificing coverage will begin the discussion by talking about their wellness coverage, which is offered a little bit differently than most of the other pet insurance companies. It looks like you offer up to $750 a year in annual wellness benefits, is that right, correct? Per year. Okay. And is that subject to the deductible and copay? Yes. So once you've met, it's met for all coverages across the policy. So depending on what their copay or deductible it is is that would still apply towards their wellness and it's just reducing that amount if they happen to have an accident or an injury as well. There's not a separate deductible for the wellness. It's one deductible across the board for the whole policy. Okay. Is there a schedule of benefits that list the wellness procedures that are covered, nope, based on veterinarian services, So it is not limited to a scheduled benefits. Do we do see that with several other policies where they may have either up to three vaccines or a very limited scale of wellness options, ours is not does not do that. So whatever the veterinarian deems preventative, do you cover it? Right. Exactly. In looking at your policy? I was a bit confused. Is the behavioral coverage does that included in your wellness or is that in your base policy prescribed behavioral therapy, training, treatment and therapy if it's as a result of an illness or injury that's included as part of the base policy as well? And what about the supplements? As long as they're prescribed their coverage? And that's the base policy? Yes. And prescription diets. Is that the base policy or is that wellness prescription? Pet foods are part of the base policy as well, differentiate in your policy between what you define as pre existing conditions versus secured conditions. When you look at the definition of pre existing, it's something that the pet has either had the injury before or has been diagnosed prior to the effective date. Typically we see it most often with chronic conditions diabetes glaucoma, something that the pet has had for some time and they've been treated for it previously or even consistently. They may have had been treating for it for two or three years. That would be considered a pre existing condition. Okay. Um do you have a look back period where you maybe some acute conditions that occurred in the last, so and so time period if they were cured or went away, um we do go around the idea that if it's been cured and a veterinarian says it's cured and it has re occurred, that is something they do treat that differently. So if it is something they've truly been cured of. One of the examples they had used previously was different types of cancer. A cancer may come back in a different form even though the pet had had cancer specifically, they did not get that same exact cancer back in their body on the specific spot. So the new cancer covered. So they're one of those things that they're looking at it from that perspective, are they truly cured of that illness or injury? Then it would no longer be an issue. So it's truly been eliminated and they're fully restored to normal health. And that would no longer be considered pre existing. If a pet owner, upon signing up for a new policy requested a medical record review to determine if there are any pre existing conditions. Will trusted pals do that. We will work with them. Absolutely. And trying to do that. Um, we have found that we haven't really needed to gathering all their vet records and different things. It's really, it it can be very cumbersome and we try to keep it as easy on the pet owner as possible. So we're doing upon request only. But it's very, I honestly at this point we haven't had anyone requested. Typically we have ted advisors that they can talk to over the phone. Um, if there is concerned, they can definitely, you know, if they have a diagnosis or something in question, we are very happy to do kind of that pre review with them and be able to talk them through to see if that type of element would be considered pre existing or not. Oftentimes we can do it without actually doing a full medical record review. It just kind of depend on the details of that particular pet. As far as a timeframe specifically, it would be typically at a claim situation is when we review the medical records. But even then it's fairly infrequent. Most times, I've seen him right now through the claims experience so far has been on some pretty detailed chronic conditions that would make you think or possibly that it is pre existing. They don't do it with every single claim by all means. Again, it's chronic conditions are probably the ones that trigger the most. If a client who has one of your policies can't afford to pay for a large expense upfront and seek reimbursement and their veterinarian consents to receive direct payment from trusted pals. Will you do that the way our policy is written and filed right now. It's a two party agreement right now. We don't have a legal way to do it, so to speak because the agreement is between the pet owner and the insurance company Zurich. So the only person we can make payments to is to the pet owner and then they do it as a reimbursement for their expenses. One of the things that we're looking out of the possible enhancement in the future is trying to find a way where we'll be able to make payments directly to the veterinarian clinic. But right now we don't have a way to be able to do it through the policy. I know we had one that they were able to get. Uh I can't remember what the vet clinic said. It looked like almost like a pre pre estimate of what the different services we're going to cost and we were able to use that and say based on that and with the medical record review should unless something odd comes up in the plane then yes they should be able to reimburse. So if the veterinarian was okay with accepting a payment plan between them and their client, we definitely want to try to help and make sure that we're keeping it as clear as possible. But unfortunately right now we don't have a way to be able to pay the veterinarian hospital directly. I noticed something in your policy that I don't think I've ever seen in any other pet insurance policy before and that is that you just came right out and said that the annual maximum deductible and copay would not change based on a pet's claim experience. Our rate product we filed it specifically that it is not claims oriented. It's strictly based on age breeding, location of the pet. Our policy is designed to not increase because of claims experience because we're anticipating claims experience with the pets. I have found a clause senior policy that says veterinarian. In the definitions, veterinarian shall not include. You are a member of your immediate family, regardless of whether you or a member of your immediate family is also a veterinarian. Does this mean that you won't reimburse a veterinarian who treats his or her own pet? The policy is looking for confirmed diagnosis treatments, prescriptions, et cetera From outside that immediate family. Um, The carrier and I talked about it a couple of different times. You know, it's meant to be a reimbursement as an individual, not as an, as a veterinarian practice. Um, but it could very well be a partner or colleague within the practice. But yes, the idea is that a different veterinarian that would be treating and diagnosing the pet if the pet owner happens to be a veterinarian as well. Every pet insurance policy has this clause in there. And as a consequence, I usually have to ask this question and I encourage predators to ask this question. But uh, your policy states that you may elect to cancel or not renew a policy and that's pretty standard. Uh And I'm assuming this does not mean based on claims experience. You are correct. So one of the things that they would look at would be the most common is non payment of premium because that is what allows a carrier to cancel a policy for non payment of premium is by having that clause there. Um, Same thing of it may be a a filing had been withdrawn from a state. That clause is what allows a carrier to actually cancel the policy. So it's uh, it's definitely a legal phrase in there, but that we are not intending on canceling because it claims experience etcetera. That is what it allows the carrier to cancel on those few typically regulatory type issues that they would be looking at cancel it. And again, cancellation for non payment of premium is by far the most common pieces that come through there. You know, it sounds like you are more flexible I guess is it like this uh than a lot of petty jerks companies. Um you know, I have interviewed representatives most of the time it's been veterinary colleagues or the founder ceo of these companies and ask them all these questions and there are very few companies that I always put it this way, if there's a gray area, they give the pet owner the benefit of the doubt. And it sounds like you're one of those companies that would try your very best to give the pet owner the benefit of the doubt. It feels really good. It feels very good to be doing something very positive for pets and pet parents are like that was one of the founding principles when they started looking at this program and this product was trying to find a way and finding things that's truly not that insurance isn't, but we're trying to orient on that pet, the pet parent experience of trying to build out the best experience possible for them. Before we go, I just want to talk about your policy maximums, deductibles and co pay levels that you offer, We've got quite a few options that we try to give people, you know, the a pretty robust mixture. Um One of the things that I do like is the fact that our coverage form itself does not change based on the deductible copay limit you choose. So that was another thing that we were trying to keep was that we had a very clean, simple robust product that allows people to be able to make adjustments from a financial perspective without cutting out coverage is so allowing them to be able to select hopefully a a coke, a deductible option combination that will truly work for them. Um You know across the length of the policy uh which and for most I think we're finding that it's working really well but we do have lots of different options of trying to help a pet parent build a plan That matches and will work for their particular budget for what they're looking for. So we have everywhere from 4,000 8,015,000 or an unlimited option. And then with copay options or the reimbursements we go 70% 80% 90% or 100% And deductibles range from 0 100 to 50 and 750. What is your most common? Annual maximum selected? Uh right now the one that we're seeing probably the most of is the $8,000 limit with an 80% copay and $250 deductible. That seems to be the most common across the board. We are seeing more and more people starting to opt for the unlimited limit though. Um you know, I think that's as prices increase everywhere and the economy's changed their, you know, it's starting to exhibit more and more expenses and where we are seeing more people starting to pick up either the $15,000 limit or the unlimited. Well joe, I sure appreciate you taking the time to talk with this afternoon. I've been wanting to get someone from trusted pals to own the podcast because you know, people can go to your website and they can read about your policy, but there's something about hearing from a representative of the company, particularly one in your position where you kinda helped build this policy from the ground up and that just adds so much to what people have to try to make a decision on. And really that's the reason I started the podcast mainly is for that. Yeah, well thank you for reaching out. I I genuinely enjoyed the conversation as well as the opportunity to tell you a little bit more about our program. I agree. I think a conversation goes a long way, so I definitely appreciate you reaching out to us and asking for the, for the time because it's been very enjoyable for me as well. Something I think the, the education that you're providing perspective insurance purchasers is to be commended. Um, a lot of people, they don't stop to read the policies thoroughly and really ask questions and trying to help people understand what questions they should be asking will go a long way towards their experience from having a pet insurance product because it's definitely not a one size fits all out there. So definitely encouraging people to find the right solution for them of their, so
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