MetLife and PetFirst, “a fast-growing pet health insurance administrator,” announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which MetLife will acquire PetFirst.
Founded in 2004,
PetFirst Pet Insurance
currently administers insurance coverage on more than 40,000 pets and it distributes its pet insurance products through animal welfare agencies, D2C channels and employers. The company, a team of 34 according to LinkedIn, underwrites and administers policies and claims on behalf of New Hampshire Insurance Company, The Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania or Independence American Insurance Company.
The acquisition will leverage MetLife’s position as a market leader in US group benefits by enabling the company to offer a new benefit that is growing in popularity. Since 2014, the annual growth rate for the pet insurance industry has been more than 20 percent.
The pet insurance market is under-penetrated and fast-growing. The roughly 85 million families that own pets in the United States spend $18 billion annually on veterinary care, yet, as of 2018, less than 2 percent of pets were insured. Following the acquisition, PetFirst will continue to market pet insurance through animal welfare societies and its D2C channel. Beginning in the summer of 2020, MetLife will offer this pet insurance to employers through its group benefits distribution channel, reaching approximately 41 million employees and dependents across the US.
“Pet insurance has become an increasingly important voluntary benefit, and this transaction allows us to capitalize on this rapidly growing market opportunity. Today’s employees have an increasing expectation of their employer to support their lives holistically, and offering pet insurance provides our customers’ employees additional support against unexpected out-of-pocket pet health expenses. PetFirst is a leading pet health insurance administrator and we look forward to welcoming the talented PetFirst team to the MetLife family.” – Ramy Tadros, president of U.S. Business for MetLife.
“For more than 15 years, we have proudly focused on developing products and services to meet the growing and evolving needs of pet parents across the US During this time, we have seen pet insurance continue to gain importance as a valuable product for families. With MetLife’s tremendous reach and resources, we see a strong opportunity to help more pet parents get access to pet insurance and alleviate the potential financial burden of a sick or injured pet.” – Katie Blakeley, CEO of PetFirst.
The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2020 subject to customary closing conditions and approvals.
Bottom Line: Smart move and brings back memories from our event with Cake & Arrow where we discussed the under-penetrated pet insurance market with The Farmer’s Dog cofounder Brett Podolsky.