Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Premium Increases Class Action

A number of class actions have been filed in recent years protesting allegedly excessive increases in insurance premiums. This class action has the same theme, although the defendant is Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, LLC and the insurance in question is pet health insurance. Policies are issued and administered by Healthy Paws but underwritten by various insurance companies.

The Nationwide Class for this action is all persons who, within the applicable statute of limitations, had their monthly premiums increase on a Healthy Paws pet insurance policy. There is also a California Subclass for all such persons in California.

The complaint says, “More than two million pets in the United States and Canada were insured at the end of 2017 according to the North American Pet Health Insurance Association.” However, the complaint claims that policies vary widely in terms of “what they cover, what they exclude, and what they cost…”

Plaintiff Steven Benanav bought a policy from Healthy Paws on his dog Mali, which became effective in March 2012.

The complaint quotes Benanav’s policy as saying, “Monthly premiums may change for all policyholders to reflect changes in the costs of veterinary medicine.” The complaint comments, “Thus, under the explicit terms of the Policies, Healthy Paws is authorized only to use ‘changes in the costs of veterinary medicine’ when changing monthly premiums…. Healthy Paws is not allowed to increase the cost of monthly premiums based on any other factors, including the pet’s age.”

Healthy Paws has admitted that it uses other factors in calculating premium prices. For example, when a customer complained about a substantial increase in a public forum, a representative posted a reply asserting that premiums “reflect the cost of treatment advances in veterinary medicine, your individual pet’s breed, gender, age, and other factors, in addition to the overall claims experience for the program within the region your pet resides.”

But the complaint claims that Washington’s Office of the Insurance Commissioner fined Healthy Paws and its underwriters for “numerous violations. One such violation consisted of impermissibly taking into account a pet’s age when calculating premiums” which it termed “contrary to policy language indicating the factor would remain constant.”

Between 2013 and 2020, Benanav’s premiums for Mali have increased by over 300%. The complaint alleges that the price of veterinary medicine has not increased that fast. It quotes the Nationwide Purdue Veterinary Price Index as saying that between January 2009 and December 2014, prices actually fell by 3.6%, and that between 2014 and 2018 they rose by 21.1%. This does not nearly account for the 300% increase.

Benanav claims that it’s too late to switch to another insurance company because Mali is now 13 and has “aged out” of most policies.

Article Type: Lawsuit
Topic: Insurance

Most Recent Case Event

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Premium Increases Complaint

March 19, 2020

A number of class actions have been filed in recent years protesting allegedly excessive increases in insurance premiums. This class action has the same theme, although the defendant is Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, LLC and the insurance in question is pet health insurance. Policies are issued and administered by Healthy Paws but underwritten by various insurance companies.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Premium Increases Complaint

Case Event History

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Premium Increases Complaint

March 19, 2020

A number of class actions have been filed in recent years protesting allegedly excessive increases in insurance premiums. This class action has the same theme, although the defendant is Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, LLC and the insurance in question is pet health insurance. Policies are issued and administered by Healthy Paws but underwritten by various insurance companies.

Healthy Paws Pet Insurance Premium Increases Complaint
Tags: Insurance, Premium Increases, pet insurance