At least two state lawmakers want to make pet insurance available to New Yorkers.
New York will be the latest state in the country to allow pet insurance, following Maine, California, Washington and Mississippi. Assemblywoman Pamela Hunter, D-Syracuse, and Sen. Neil Breslin, D-Albany, recently introduced bills (A.8276/S.7845) in the state legislature that would allow the issuance of insurance policies covering accidents and illnesses of pets.
“This bill seeks to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework for the pet insurance industry in New York State. This act will create uniform definitions, provide better protection to owners, and generally reduce regulatory confusion. “Several states, including California and Maine, have already enacted similar legislation,” Breslin and Hunter wrote in their justification for the legislation.
Pet insurance laws in Maine, Mississippi and Washington follow the model pet insurance law adopted in August 2022 by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This model requires insurers to make clear disclosures about exclusions. limits and prohibits waiting periods for certain terms or conditions; distinguishes between welfare plans and insurance; and describes training for those who want to sell pet insurance.
The Associated Press reported in 2023 that the pet insurance industry had annual premiums of about $2.8 billion in 2021, up 30 percent from 2020, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. About 4 million pets are insured in the U.S. According to the 2023-24 American Pet Products Association (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, 86.9 million, or 66 percent, of U.S. households reported owning a pet. is, and they will spend an estimated $143.6. billion on animal care and products (pet food, treatments, supplies, live animals, OTC drugs, animal care, product sales, and other services) in 2023, up from $136.8 billion in actual spending in 2022.
Mississippi Sen. Walt Michel, a Republican, said during a legislative debate on the Mississippi bill that pet insurance policies cover most illnesses such as broken bones and cancer. Injuries that are expensive to treat, such as a torn ACL in dogs, can wait up to a year under most policies. The Mississippi bill does not apply to life insurance for pets.