3 reasons why employers should prioritize pet insurance

Working with pets

There’s at least one feel-good story that has risen from the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic: animal shelters are empty. Thousands of dogs and cats have been fostered or adopted by people shifting to remote work lifestyles. Now there are many new pet parents out there who view their pet as something more than just a furry friend: family.

Employers should consider how they can support pet parents in their organization through pet insurance or other benefits as they welcome these new family members into their homes. What’s more, rising employee pet parenting is actually good news for companies: 50% of employees who work with their pets report being more productive.

Read more: Working from home has improved employees’ connections to their pets

Helping employees prepare for important life events like getting a pet is a core purpose of benefits packages. However, traditional perks and benefits plans aren’t always designed with pet parents in mind. As employers rethink benefits packages with a changing work environment and financial priorities, here are three reasons why employers should consider incorporating pet insurance — and other pet-friendly benefits — into their benefits packages.

Employee needs are changing due to the pandemic

Pet insurance and other pet-related benefits can help employers support their employees as they adjust to pandemic-induced lifestyle changes. With many Americans still working from home and the majority preferring to do so even after the pandemic, benefits packages need to evolve and shift away from in-office benefits (e.g. free lunches and onsite services like gyms) and toward offerings that meet the new needs of an at-home workforce. With more people becoming pet parents, pet-related benefits can be a great way to address new employee needs.

Pet insurance can help employees avoid the expense of unexpected bills and improve financial wellness

Owning a pet can be expensive, with annual costs of dog ownership running as high as $2,455 — and 92% of pet-parents are paying for vet expenses out-of-pocket with cash or with a credit card, according to recent data from MetLife and CivicScience. Of course, when your pet is part of the family, you don’t want to be forced to make a difficult decision about the pet’s health based on costs alone. Pet insurance can help pet parents manage the expense of routine vet expenses as well as heftier, unexpected costs associated with surgery or chronic conditions like cancer.

Pets can help improve mental health

Even before the pandemic, many employers were adjusting their benefits packages to better support employee mental health. Roughly one-third of employees say they do not have good mental health in the wake of the pandemic, according to MetLife’s recent mental health study. Pets can help their parents improve their mental well-being; research shows that dogs can help employees cope with loneliness, depression and anxiety. Offering benefits like pet insurance can help remove some of the obstacles that may be preventing an employee from becoming a pet parent, and by enabling pet ownership, employers are in turn promoting a healthy, happy and mentally-well workforce.