Pit bull parents discovered that good dogs don’t have favorable insurance policies.
Any owner of pit bull will be able to confidently say that dogs insurance policies are unfavorable. This may sound hard to believe but it is the current trend of events.
But who would like to get Elle insured? She is a 5 – year old dog seating with kids inside a library in North Carolina. She is helping them feel more comfortable while reading. She won the award of American Hero Dog for 2013 edition organized by American Humane Association. During the ceremony which took place in the city of Los Angeles, she had the chance to be with Betty White.
According to Leah Brewer who happens to be Ellen’s owner, Ellen hasn’t bitten anyone. Rather, she once got ambushed by a German shepherd. There was also a time a Jack Russell terrier attacked her. On both occasions, she never attempted to retaliate.
The homeowner dogs insurance policy (name not mentioned) of Leah Brewer has gotten Elle classified amongst dangerous dogs. The only reason for such classification is how she looks.
Elle is already a public figure and celebrity. For instance, she has a Facebook page (Elle the Pit Bull) which has earned over 20,000 likes. She also has been able to mix up with other top celebrities. Until this moment, Brewer never saw any need to mention the breed of Elle to her insurer.
This is why a state Farmer insurance agent like spencer Lund makes use of these kinds of photos to ensure customers are aware that he is willing to work with owners of pit bull.
Lund claims that he understands the predicaments of these breed owners. He explained that he is also a Pit bull parent. These are agonizing struggles. There are jurisdictions that have laws that are known as breed-specific legislation. This prevents people from having to be in possession of some dog breeds. These could be wolf – hybrids, Chows, Akitas, and pit bulls. The American Kennel Club community has strongly criticized this legislation in recent times. There are states within US that are considering the possibility of enacting laws that will put an end to any form of dog discrimination. Even when dogs haven’t been outrightly banned, landlords do have policies that are anti – a pit bull. This makes people to choose between beloved pets and housing.
A pit bull owner in California once complained that she is having problems finding a good accommodation unless her dog is sacrificed. She claims that everyone is telling her to give up her dog but she cannot do such. She also explained to ABC news that she and her entire family (including husband and 2 kids) have decided to be living in their car since finding an apartment with Rocco, their dog is an issue.
Donna Reynolds happens to be the director of BAD RAP which is a group for pit bull advocacy. He explained that it was a difficult and unpleasant situation for pit bull parents. According to him, various messages are coming in every day from dog owners who want to give up their dogs for accommodations.
Another major problem is that dog insurance companies can’t seem to cover families which own pit bull breed.
It should be noted that while laws passed by the government against pit bulls are political, the refusal of landlords to allow such breed around their property is based on fear, it can be said that the insurance business is based on numbers. The question is: are insurance companies seeing something negative in pit bull breed which advocates are failing to see at the moment?
According to Bob Hartwig who is the president of the Insurance information institute (III), this is usually done based on information about actual claims. He explained that such a decision can be traced to the experience of these companies in getting claims paid. He pointed out that dog bite claims seem to be far more than what is being paid annually as premiums. A 2012 statistics showed that the amount paid for dog bite claims was over $500million. Although the claims have drastically reduced, the average cost for each claim over the past 10 years is over $10,000.
Breed statistics are examined by III. However, Hartwig pointed out that the same way insurance is viewing other risk factors, that is how they see dog breeds. Most of these claims are making insurance companies incur losses. This has made them to refuse to insure people who have dogs. Sometimes they can even reduce the amounts to be paid for claims.
Dog Insurance companies will always request that dog parents state the breed of their dogs. It is to ensure the owner knows such dog breed. There are instances whereby a victim of dog bite will be asked to identify the particular type of breed though. He pointed out that dog insurance companies aren’t doing genetic testing at the moment to know a dog’s pedigree.
Janet Masters also buttressed this point by explaining that self – reporting is being heavily relied on. She is American Family Insurance’s spokeswoman. This is a company which attracted public attention when it dropped a loyal customer due to being a pit bull parent.
Masters also explained that the decision of the company not to get homeowners who have pit bulls insured is very unique amongst various insurers. This is majorly based on claims experiences as well as statistical data.
Also, III doesn’t examine dog breed data. Disease control and prevention centers for dog breed have cited about 2000 cases of dog bites. Apart from pit bull as well as Rottweiler breeds, no other breed was found. These are breeds that have been involved in more dog bites than any other. According to producers of these reports, these statistics aren’t aimed at supporting breed-specific legislation. They recommended that a solution such as the regulation of dog owners and breeds based on how they behave will work fine.
Last December, comprehensive dog bite data was published by American Veterinary Medical Association. According to these researchers, the breed isn’t a major factor in cases related to fatal dog bites. The most important factors were failure of owners to get their dogs spayed or neutered. There is also the problem of dogs being neglected and also the inability of someone to come to the rescue during the occurrence of dog bite.
According to JAVMA researchers, in over 80% of fatal dog bite cases, the actual breed involved couldn’t be accurately determined. Figures like these are the same as those presented in 2009 by a National Institute Health study. It was also discovered that most people can’t even identify dog breeds accurately.
It was reported by the authors that most dogs have been named as pit bulls twice by shelter staff. These are based on visual inspection as well as DNA analysis. It was also explained that the same people couldn’t agree amongst themselves about breed of over 100 dogs being examined.
Based on these, insurers such as State Farms aren’t having their underwritings based on breed. Questions about a dog’s lineage aren’t asked. Rather, anytime a person is signing up for homeowner’s insurance, the company tries to ask questions whether such a dog has gotten someone bitten in the past.
Decisions on cases are treated individually according to Heather Paul who is a spokesman of State Farm. In other words, cases related to insurance policies are specifically treated. Whenever dog bites seem to have occurred, pit bulls are usually misidentified. This is why statistics on dog bites at the moment aren’t reliable.Open next Page To See more
Brewer explained that she is about taking up dogs insurance policy in State Farm. The reason for her switch is because she wants some assurance that coverage won’t be suddenly dropped by her insurer after discovering the provenance of Elle. According to her, it is also to show that people will likely patronize an insurance company that is fair and transparent in its policies. She pointed out that it means so much seeing that her dog is being given fair treatment like every other dog.
There is a belief that other dog insurance companies will do something similar. Hartwig explained that homeowner’s insurance seems highly competitive at the moment. Over 50% of American households have dogs with 20% of this number being adopted from shelter as pointed out by the American Humane Society. He explains that the underwriting decisions of the company will be greatly influenced by consumer pressure.
Even the American family seems open to any form of change. A question was put forward by Masters regarding how her company is going to incorporate JAVMA study in its underwriting decisions. According to her, she wasn’t aware whether such has been reviewed as of now or not. However, she pointed out that they are always reviewing information to ensure the ever-changing needs of customers are met. The aim is to ensure that the policies of the company are constantly reviewed to align with the demands of the changing times most especially for dogs’ insurance to be favorable.
In the case of Elle, it should be noted that Brewer doesn’t seem to be 100% sure about her dog being a pit bull breed. This was when she said her DNA would have to be tested before a conclusion is reached.