The fact that companies are offering pet insurance as an employee benefit speaks to several trends at once: the need to foster worker loyalty without adding to the bottom line; the rising cost of health care, for humans and other species; and the increasing importance Americans put on their pets. Some people shower their animals with luxury, Leona Helmsley-style. Far more consider their pets to be full-fledged family members, cherished and beloved. And if Fido is ailing, it feels wrong to make decisions about his health care with some maximum price tag in mind.
Hence the embrace of pet insurance, which can cost several hundred dollars per year, but can offer relief if veterinary bills soar into the thousands. More and more companies are offering access to this coverage as a perk: Employees bear the full cost of the policies, but benefit from group rates. As with any insurance policy, pet insurance may or may not pay for itself over time. But as a means of peace of mind, it could be priceless. And if financially strapped companies are looking for ways to ease their workers’ stress, this one seems like a walk in the park.