State National and Boost venture into pet insurance

Bingo, the Columbus-based company offering “intelligent dog insurance,” is live.

Bingo is entering the pet insurance scene as the sub-agent of Boost Insurance Agency and with a product underwritten by State National, which is the insurer’s only pet insurance program according to a recent state product filing. “Since this is a new program and NSIC does not have any data on Pet Insurance on which to base the rate development, the rates for this new program have been developed from the Liberty Insurance Underwriters Inc. PET Insurance Policy program.”

Unlike other pet insurance companies, Bingo requires pet owners to download an app (iOS only) to receive a quote. Individuals can choose the Accident Only policy or the Accident and Illness policy with a variety of endorsements such as coverage for the cost of advertising and offering a reward for a lost pet, alternative therapies, boarding a pet when the owner is hospitalized, dental coverage, and wellness benefits among other things.

Aside from getting a quote, the app allows individuals to submit claims and it includes quizzes and a ‘health’ feature where Bingo tracks the owner’s location and motion while walking the dog for the sake of coaching owners to become better pet parents. Perhaps this is why Bingo, unlike other pet insurance providers, is only focused on dogs as the location and motion tracker isn’t useful for cat owners since they don’t take them on walks. This makes you wonder how attractive Bingo will be as an employee perk for companies that want to deal with one provider, as well as pet owners that own both a cat and a dog since they will lose out on the popular multiple pet discount and the convenient aspect of dealing with one provider.

Bottom Line: if Bingo doesn’t become the ultimate distribution partner for Boost, then we may end up with too many middlemen.