Last week, I visited Trupanion Pet Insurance Company in Seattle. I was invited and hosted by Dr. Steve Weinrauch - the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer at the company.
I was joined on the visit by Robin, the practice manager at Advanced Animal Care of Colorado. I had interviewed the owner of that practice, Dr. Heather Steyn, for a podcast episode in 2015 about how they were using Trupanion Express to promote pet insurance in their practice.
Traditionally, the way pet insurance has worked is the client pays the veterinarian for the services rendered in full, and then files a claim with the insurance company to get reimbursed for whatever is covered under the terms of the policy minus the deductible and copay.
I've always maintained that many pet owners cannot afford to pay a large bill out-of-pocket and then wait for reimbursement. So, Darryl Rawlings, the Founder and CEO of Trupanion, put together a team several years ago to come up with an alternative to the traditional reimbursement model.
In early 2013, the company introduced Trupanion Express which allows the company to pay the veterinarian directly up to 90% of the bill. The pet owner would only have to pay the deductible, copay and anything not covered under the terms of the policy out-of-pocket.
The claim is filed electronically by the hospital before the client checks out, and amazingly most decisions about coverage, payments, etc. are decided within 5 minutes so that the client can pay their part of the bill and Trupanion pays the hospital the rest when the client actually checks out.
Robin gets to see how Trupanion Express works on the hospital side at Advanced Animal Care, but we got an in-depth look at what happens behind the scenes at Trupanion when trial policies are initiated, medical records are reviewed and claims are filed, etc.
On any given day, employees will bring up to 200 pets to work with them at Trupanion. I met many of them during the tour of the offices. Here you can see "Thea" who wants to play ball and belongs to Hillary, a Veterinary Systems Specialist who works to support hospitals with Trupanion Express.
Trupanion also recently started an in-house day care facility for their employees with young children - provided at no cost.
Robin and I ate lunch with Steve, Renee (the first employee at Trupanion), Darryl Rawlings and a few others. It was good to finally meet and chat with Darryl after talking with him on the phone for several years, emailing each other and interviewing him on a podcast.
I appreciate the invitation to visit Trupanion and the hospitality extended to me by Steve, Darryl, and all the other folks I met while there. I also thoroughly enjoyed meeting Robin from Advance Animal Care and the insights that she shared about her experience using Trupanion Express. Interestingly, she came to veterinary medicine after working in the human health field (managed care) and gave Trupanion Express an enthusiastic endorsement.
Check out the following podcast episodes:
My interview with Darryl Rawlings - Founder and CEO of Trupanion
My interview with Dr. Kerri Marshall about how Trupanion Express works
My interview with Dr. Heather Steyn