Supermarkets offer a lot to pet lovers. There are aisles of food, snacks and toys. Many have pet clubs rewarding discounts for repeat purchases. Stores with pharmacies might also fill prescriptions for pet medications.
So why not pet insurance, then?
“Although sales growth slowed due to the recession, revenues (measured as gross written premiums) remained in the double digits in 2009 while delivering a 2005-2009 compound annual growth rate of 21%,” wrote researchers at Packaged Facts, a market research firm.
In the United States, pet insurance totaled $303 million in 2009, up 16% from $262 million in 2008, when sales rose 27%. The vast majority — 80% — of the 1 million pets insured in North America reside in the United States, the researchers concluded.
A number of food retailers have made pet policies available over the years, entering into partnerships with insurance companies and underwriters. Chains like Meijer, Kroger and Spartan Stores have advertised the service, primarily through their financial services arm. Plans can be customized, and in most cases mimic human coverage. Owners must pay an annual deductible to receive coverage for accident and illness, routine care, kennel and boarding — even burial.