Pet insurance bill advances
Legislation passed in the Mississippi Senate and headed to the House would allow more state pet owners to buy insurance to cover the medical expenses for their dogs, cats, reptiles and birds. The bill introduced by Walter Michel, a Ridgeland Republican, would create “a comprehensive legal framework within which pet insurance may be sold” in Mississippi, amending current Mississippi law so health and life insurance agents could sell insurance for pets, not just brokers licensed to sell property and casualty insurance.
Insurance companies are advocating for pet insurance bills across the country so they can offer consistent health coverage for animals. About four million pets are now insured in the U.S., and the pet insurance industry has annual premiums of about $2.8 billion. Dogs and cats would be the primary beneficiaries of the new law, but some pet insurance plans also offer coverage to reptiles and birds. The policies mostly cover broken bones and cancer, do not include life insurance for pets, and must disclose if they do not cover preexisting health conditions or other chronic disorders. Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney would have the authority to regulate the industry.