Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 21st 2013 Contents • Twitter: @GuardianTT • Web: guardian.co.tt
The head of general insurance at one of the
nation s top insurance brokers has predicted
that the dog control legislation, which was
passed by both houses of Parliament earlier
this month, could be "problematic" for insur-
ance companies in terms of sorting out claims.
In e-mailed responses to a Guardian inquiry,
Mike Byrne, a top employee at CIC Insurance
Brokers said, "I foresee this bill being problematic
for insurers especially in claims scenarios as
there would be many loopholes whereby insur-
ance companies could avoid liability....and then
what happens to the person injured or owner
of the property damaged?
"Insurers are currently looking at their cov-
erage levels and some have already made some
adjustments however I am not sure that all
insurers have finalised their proposition yet and
those that have made the changes may not
have thought it through properly--it therefore
might still be confusing to customers."
He recommended that customers should
consult their insurance broker if they have one
and if they don t then they should still make
an inquiry with one.
The Dog Control Bill, requires persons who
own a Class A dog, "To have in force in relation
to each dog, a policy of insurance that provides
coverage in respect of each claim for injury or
death caused by that dog in the sum of not
less than $250,000 or such higher sum as the
Minister may prescribe by Order."
Under the legislation, Class A dogs relate
specifically to the following breeds: Pitbull Ter-
riers or any dog bred from the Pitbull Terrier;
Fila Brasilero or any dog bred from the Fila
Brasilero; Japanese Tosa or any dog bred from
the Japanese Tosa.
In a statement issued ltwo weeks ago, the
Association of T&T insurance companies
(ATTIC) advised the public that insurance com-
panies do not have separate policies for owners
of Class A dogs, however, such insurance may
be covered under their homeowners policy.
ATTIC urged all owners of Class A dogs,
who have a homeowners policy to contact
their insurer to verify whether their policy
includes such coverage.
Byrne explained that each insurance company
has different wordings in their household poli-
cies, which cover fire and named perils in terms
of property damage.
"So if the policy does not state that damage
caused by pets is covered then it is not covered.
This part relates only to damage to property
covered ie the householders own buildings or
Byrne said in terms of damage/injury caused
by a pet to third party property/persons, the
policy has to have a liability section, which
would not cover damage/injury to a member
of the insured family permanently residing at
the property. This only covers third party per-
He explained that under the liability section,
events are covered unless they are excluded so
this is different to the cover under the property
He said that damage caused by animals is
usually excluded, however, many policies provide
coverage for dogs, cats and horses so technically
in this scenario even dangerous dogs would be
This means, he explained, that each insurer s
policy would have to be checked for its exact
wording or coverage.
"Even if there is coverage there are going to
be issues in determining or proving which dog
caused which injury/damage!"
Byrne said that the dog control bill imposes
certain requirements on owners "but these
requirements may not be fully practical or even
possible in certain scenarios."
Insurers are currently looking at their coverage
levels, according to Byrne, and while some have
already made adjustments, he said he was not
sure that all insurers have finalised their propo-
sition yet "and those that have made the changes
may not have thought it through properly. It
therefore might still be confusing to customers."
LOS ANGELES---Melissa Yoakam
jokingly calls her dog Shadow her
"car payment" because she pays
US$250 a month for the 12-year-
old s cancer treatments.
She d pay far less if she had pet
insurance, but she didn t take advan-
tage of it when Shadow was younger
and when he got cancer it was too
late. She uses her experience to con-
vince colleagues not to make the
"I should have it but I don t," she
Yoakam is well-versed in the sub-
ject as benefits manager at Chipotle
Mexican Grill, which is one of a
growing number of companies that
discount and subsidise pet insurance
as a perk to workers.
America s oldest and largest pet
insurer, Veterinary Pet Insurance,
offers policies at one in three Fortune
500 companies, as well as 3,400 other companies and associations
across the nation, said company pres-
ident Scott Liles.
Other organisations, such as the
American Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals, also offer
insurance through employers, but
the number of people who sign up
California-based VPI has 61 per
cent of the niche market with only
a half million pets insured in America.
While that represents a tiny fraction
of the estimated 165 million pets in
the United States, it has huge growth
potential as America s animal affec-
tion fuels new pet products, services
and a higher level of health care.
VPI offers insurance to companies
with more than 100 employees, who
can choose payroll deductions or
Nevada s largest employer, MGM
Resorts International, based in Las
Vegas, added pet insurance in 2006
to a benefits package that also
includes on-site child care, legal aid
and free meals, said corporate benefits
manager Melissa Friedman.
Chipotle, based in New York,
began offering the benefit in 2002
because "we knew people were big
into pets," Yoakam said.
About 100 of the fast-food chain s
3,000 eligible employees get the
insurance, a number that s low
because a lot of the employees are
younger and have other priorities.
Chipotle pays US$10 per pet for
up to three pets. One pet costs
between US$10 and US$57 a month,
depending on coverage plans and
VPI adds a five per cent to 15 per
cent discount, depending on the
number of animals insured. (AP)
Employers offer pet insurance as perk
Insurance brokers say:
Dog control bill problematic
S&P revises Barbados
outlook to negative---Page A33
Moving oil by
train won't stop ---Page A34
Even if there is coverage there are going to be issues in determining or proving which dog
caused which injury/damage!
One pet costs between US$10 and US$57 a month, depending on coverage
plans and deductible.
Links Archive July 20th 2013 July 22nd 2013 Navigation Previous Page Next Page