SAP teams with Petco to offer expanded employee pet insurance benefits

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Employees often view their pets as family and are willing to go to great lengths to care for them. Recognizing the unique bond that employees have with their pets, enterprise application software SAP has expanded its pet insurance and bereavement programs to offer comprehensive pet health and wellness benefits to full-time employees in North America.

“We had a workshop over the summer, where we were really looking at our work-life policies,” says Jason Russell, SAP’s head of North America total rewards. “The feedback from that session was we should have a bereavement leave for pets. It really got us thinking about pet wellness and offering more in that space, and that led to the conversation with Petco.”

The partnership with specialty pet retailer Petco provides employees with access to Petco’s wellness program at a reduced rate of up to 20%. The Petco wellness program includes features such as additional pet insurance coverage for accidents and illnesses, preventive care, and discounts on supplies and services at Petco stores and Petco.com.

The program also includes free Ask-a-Vet consultations, which give SAP employers answers to pet health questions and recommendations over the phone, as well as personalized content, which is tailored to their pet’s individual care needs.

“Telemedicine is something that has really caught on in this COVID-19 environment,” Russell says. “It is the same kind of concept, say if your dog is running around the backyard and comes inside limping, you can call Petco and they have a vet on standby.”

Petco also offers a pet health concierge, where employees have access to on demand guidance around nutrition and other non-emergent pet care needs.

The expanded pet benefits come at a time when more employees are staying home with their pets on a near 24/7 basis, due to pandemic-related shelter-in-place orders. While crisis is having a negative impact on people’s mental health, owning a pet has been proven to have a positive effect on mental well being.

Indeed, 74% of those surveyed say their mental health has improved as a result of owning a pet, according to data from the Human Animal Bond Research Institute.

In addition to the Petco partnership, SAP expanded their benefits to include bereavement days, and coverage for preventative, routine and emergency vet care. About 15% of U.S. employers offer a pet insurance benefit, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

“SAP is a high performance organization,” Russel says. “People work really hard and those kinds of hours can get pretty stressful. When [an employee] steps into their house and a pet is there, you know they're there to help ground you and keep you sane. We've been hearing a lot of just how important pets are in [employees’] lives.”

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