Embrace: a Pet Insurance Policy that Makes SenseThe Cleveland, OH-based company aims to be ‘more than just a safety net for your budget.’Published: August 08, 2018
Fact No. 1: Insurance is complicated. Fact No. 2: Embrace Pet Insurance strives to make it as easy as possible. Founded in 2003, it was the first pet insurance company to launch a blog, and it continues to offer policyholders accessible, transparent tools for understanding its product with a monthly newsletter, extensive online buying guide, and 24/7 customer helpline. We talked with David Rodgers, Embrace’s Director of Marketing, about the concept behind the company’s launch, how it works to educate pet parents, and its philanthropic commitments.
Embrace was founded in 2003. Can you describe the story of its founding?
Embrace was created by Laura Bennett and Alex Krooglik, graduates of the Wharton MBA program. Their pet insurance plan won the prestigious Wharton Business Plan Competition in 2003.
Following their win, Laura and Alex took a few years to write the business plan, design the pricing, and acquire funding. In 2004, Jumpstart, a non-profit venture development organization based in Cleveland, picked up Embrace for an inaugural round of funding. In April 2005, Laura launched the blog, which was the first blog on pet insurance worldwide. We sold our first policy on October 10, 2006 and launched the website in March of 2007.
We have new leadership under Ambrish Jaiswal. Laura and Alex have moved onto other ventures, but their founding vision is still integral to our culture, who we are as a brand, and how we represent pet parents.
How do you utilize social media to engage with consumers?
One of the things that struck me when I started here was how advanced our content marketing is, especially given that doing content marketing right is difficult in any industry. Embrace does it very well, and that’s in part due to our history of Laura starting the first pet insurance blog.
Social media platforms help us communicate with our policyholders. Embrace represents more than just a safety net for your budget. If you have a policy with Embrace, you get pet health-related content in your inbox every month, because we want to make sure that we’re giving pet parents news that’s helpful to keep their pets healthy.
What are common misconceptions or misunderstandings regarding pet care and insurance plans?
The No. 1 thing people don’t understand is how pet insurance works. It’s extraordinarily confusing: there are so many different kinds of plans and they all work differently. We work to make the monthly premium affordable, which is why we have a customization option that lets you change the deductible, annual maximum, and more to create a plan that fits your budget.
Another thing is, a lot of people don’t even know that pet insurance exists. Our challenge is to educate people on what pet insurance is, how it works, and then how Embrace compares to competitors.
What tips do you have for pet parents to choose the best pet insurance plan for their needs?
The No. 1 thing that I would warn against is just price shopping. There are hidden costs that can crop up. For example, some pet insurance companies don’t cover exam fees. You wouldn’t think that’s a lot of money, but it can really add up. Another thing to look at is the way the deductibles are structured. If it’s a single annual deductible, rather than a deductible per claim, that can make a big difference. Also look at what is covered under congenital diseases, whether it’s breed-specific, and how pre-existing conditions are covered. Not all companies are that transparent when you look at their websites, so I encourage pet parents to read reviews and do their research.
What does Embrace offer that competitors don’t?
One of the things is the level of customization we offer. We have a single policy that is really easy to adjust, versus some companies who have a variety of plans that are confusing to compare and choose from.
We also have unique features like a healthy pet deductible, so for every year that your pet doesn’t have a claim, you get $50 off the annual premium. We cover vet fees, which a lot of other competitors don’t.
Can you describe Embrace's philanthropic involvement?
One of our core values is giving back to the community, so we engage in a number of ongoing charitable projects. Embrace matches 100 percent of all employee charitable donations, whether they’re pet-related or not. For every policy sold, we donate $2 to a pet-related charity. When an Embrace pet passes away, we light a candle and make a $10 donation to the Helen Woodward Animal Center. Last month, we were lead sponsor in the 2018 Cleveland Animal Protective League Telethon, which raised $130,000 to provide medical care and homes for needy pets in Northeast Ohio.
What's next for Embrace?
As a customer-centric company, we’re focusing on technology to help prospective and existing policyholders. We are constantly improving our website experience, and we’re investing in technology to make the experience of getting a quote easier and more seamless, especially on mobile devices.