Thursday, June 14, 2012

Insurance Premiums Increased

No good deed goes unpunished as they say and for Planned Pethood, Inc. along with many other shelters, rescues, boarding facilities and kennels it is no exception.  Planned Pethood, along with these other entities, are about to feel the grip of a drastic increase in liability insurance.

Mitzi shows off her two staff members
(cook & chauffeur) and the limo they
drive her around in
Planned Pethood is being hit with a 100% increase in its liability insurance premiums this year.  This increase significantly gouges the coffers for direct intake and care for animals needing services from our programs.  Help from the community is desperately needed.

According to leading insurers for animal rescues and shelters, a number of these companies have experienced a 600% loss ratio; taking in one dollar for every six they are paying out.  Directors, officers and the rescues themselves can be victims of lawsuits which can run in the thousands for defense.

How and why did this happen?
In 2009, the largest dog fight bust in United States' history, in six states, with the cooperation of state and federal law enforcement and the ASPCA, was conducted.  Over 500 dogs were seized by authorities and 30 people were arrested. The Humane Society approached rescue organizations to take in a number of redeemable dogs and puppies, but the rescues first had to secure adequate insurance.

Additionally, more and more states have and are developing new animal negligence laws.  These increasing laws also contribute to an increase in the number of animals seized and in need of rescue placement.

The year of 2008 also saw the onset of significant unemployment and housing foreclosures forcing many people to relinquish their pets whether due to lack of ability to feed and care for their pets or forced to move to rentals which do not allow for pets.  There has been a 50% increase in the number of surrender animals in need of a rescue.
Planned Pethood's agent also related to us that other smaller rescues have caused all the rescues to suffer.  Their sloppy, slapped together adoptions, negligent attention to safety and/ or lack of policies and processes to follow have resulted in dog bites, volunteer injuries and lawsuits.  Those rescues acting in these rash manners have caused almost all rescues to experience an increase in insurance premiums. 

The catch?  The more animals taken into a shelter or rescue - the higher the liability.  Unfortunately, many shelters and rescues do not have adequate insurance and it cannot simply be obtained by your personal insurance agent, but through commercial liability insurance companies.

What are we doing to help?
We started with shopping for a new policy or agency.  Turns out the policy we had was the best one for our needs.  Additonally, Planned Pethood implements best practices to limit exposure to liability.  Planned Pethood has a policy and procedures manual and it is provided to all volunteers during training and reviewed during quarterly meetings.  It provides details for all operations and how they are to be performed along with proper protocol .  Planned Pethood holds regular meetings and training sessions on a consistent basis to ensure communication, enforcement and review of policies.  Volunteers are screened, monitored, trained, required to adhere to our Code of Conduct and provided with the best personnel, assistance and outside resources for animal car to minimize all risks.  By taking these precautions, Planned Pethood can focus on their main goal – spay/neuter and finding homes for rescued animals.

Our need
The community needs to come together and has an obligation to do our part by helping provide for victims of cruelty and neglect.  The more we do to support the efforts of rescues like Planned Pethood, the more we will be able to show the love these companion animals can enhance a person's life.

Planned Pethood operates strictly from donations from generous and loving people of the community.  While there are obvious expenses directly related to the care of our dogs and cats in our foster program, the rescue incurs other significant expenses the public may not be aware of; insurance is one of them.  Your help and donations are greatly appreciated in any amount.

Mission Statement:To reduce the overpopulation and suffering of dogs and cats through education and low-cost spay/neuter programs and to rescue, vet and place adoptable* dogs and cats into good permanent homes.

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