Pet insurance company goes public

Things to consider when searching for pet insurance

Trupanion Inc. has now started trading on the New York Stock Exchange and is off to a strong start.

pet insurance claimsAt a time in which pet insurance is truly beginning to take off throughout Europe – though not yet as much in the United States – an insurer has now gone public in the U.S., and its initial successes appear to reflect the opinion of investors that Americans are ready to start purchasing coverage for their dogs and cats in considerably larger numbers.

At the moment, only about 2 percent of dog and cat owners have purchased a health policy for them.

Animal family members are becoming increasingly important to American families, but their veterinary care can be very costly, particularly if the dog or cat is anything but perfectly healthy throughout their entire lives. While the overall percentage of animal owners across the United States who have purchased pet insurance remains quite low, this figure is on the rise. This growth was placed in the spotlight when Trupanion Inc. started its trading on the New York Stock exchange for the first time.

The Seattle based pet insurance company started its common stock offering at a price to the public of $10.

The insurer made 7,125,000 shares of common stock available as it began trading under the TRUP symbol. This represents a minimum of $71 million in raised capital ahead of discounts and costs. By the time the first five hours had gone by into the initial trading of the shares, they had already experienced an increase of 12 percent.

According to Trupanion, its coverage currently provides pet health insurance for 181,000 individual animals as of this last spring. Last year, on revenues of $83.8 million, it lost $8.2 million. The company, itself, was founded in 1999 and has managed to bring in $37 million in venture funding from organizations such as Maveron (of Howard Schulz, the CEO of Starbucks), and Highland Capital Partners.

Pet insurance, itself, is nothing new, having existed since 1890 when the first policies were written in Sweden by Lansforsakrings (now called Agria Animal Insurance). It has been available in the United States since 1982 and started off with a rather bad name as standard practices had not yet been developed and American insurers started dropping animals who were ill or with chronic or hereditary conditions. It is only over the last ten years that a new branch of modern animal insurers have redefined this coverage, taking away those old exceptions, providing consumers with greater value.

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