June 24, 2016

Though some companies are scaling back health benefits for people, record numbers of dogs, cats and other pets are being covered for veterinary expenses through employee-benefits plans.

This comes alongside a growing number of businesses that allow pets in the office. Research shows that having a dog at work increases morale, teamwork and productivity.

51 percent of all employees, and 58 percent of those under age 30, said in a recent survey by Skout that dogs in the office make a company “a cool place to work.” Considering the race to recruit Millennial talent, it makes sense that pet insurance is among the fastest-growing employee benefits.

About 5,000 U.S. companies have started offering it, including Microsoft, T-Mobile, Levi-Strauss, Hewlett-Packard, Xerox and Yahoo. Ikea was included in Fortune’s latest ranking of the Best Companies to Work For in part because it made veterinary coverage available.

Companies trying to control the cost of benefits have a range of choices, from paying 100 percent of pet premiums down to simply passing along a discount on the insurance, which can then be deducted from payroll or paid directly by the employee.

This has helped to boost revenue growth in the pet insurance industry from 15 percent to 17 percent annually in the last few years, according to analysts.

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