Nationwide nixes 100K pet insurance plans, citing rising cost

Nationwide Insurance says it plans to cancel pet insurance coverage for about 100,000 animals across the nation, citing rising veterinary costs.

The cancellation of the thousands of coverage plans will take place between now and next summer as part of the company’s efforts to “maintain long-term viability and profitability,” Nationwide said in a statement Friday.

“As pet lovers ourselves, we understand the emotions connected to the protection of our family pets. Inflation in the cost of veterinary case and other factors have led to recent underwriting changes and the withdrawal of some products in some states — difficult actions that are necessary to ensure a financially sustainable future for our pet insurance line of business,” it added.

Nationwide said the cancellations will not be based on a pet’s age, breed or prior claims, and those impacted will be notified in writing ahead of time.

Policyholders will still have the same protections through their current term, the company said.

The popularity of pet insurance has increased over the years, with 24 percent of pet owners having a coverage plan, according to a NerdWallet study earlier this year.

Pet insurance plans typically cover expected health issues or injuries, while some also cover ongoing treatment for some conditions.

“I don’t know what I’m going to do,” Nationwide customer Christie Keith, who had been paying more than $700 a month in premiums, told USA Today.

“I was willing to pay this very large amount to get this coverage because I love my dogs. They’re my family. They are not like a car, or even a house, or a thing that can be replaced or rebuilt, they are important to me,” Keith said. “No one else is going to take on old dogs with pre-existing conditions and even if they do they will exclude all of the pre-existing conditions.”

Inflation remains an area of top concern for voters, according to recent polling, and the Biden administration has faced ongoing criticism over its handling of the economy.

The consumer price index, a closely watched gauge of inflation, was unchanged over the past month and is up 3.3 percent annually, Department of Labor data showed. This beat consensus estimates that it would rise 0.1 percent in May and 3.4 percent over the past year.

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