Q: What is the difference between an insurance agent and an insurance company (insurer)?
An insurance agent must be authorized by an insurer to solicit insurance and, depending on the authority granted by the insurer, may negotiate and bind insurance coverage.
The insurance company (insurer) undertakes to underwrite and bind insurance coverage for an insured in order to indemnify their losses and provide them benefits subject to all the terms of the insurance policy.
Q: How are these differences relevant to my obtaining insurance for my horse?
It is important to know which insurer an agent is representing. You can often measure an insurers commitment to the equine industry by visiting their corporate website, and asking these questions;
How many years of experience does the agent's insurer have with insuring horses?
How many years has the agent been representing this insurer?
Does the insurer have an "A" (Excellent) A.M. Best rating?
Mary Phelps is a Licensed Agent for 15 years, who works directly for the Insurer, Markel, an "A" A.M. Best Rated Company
Q: Do insurers offer pretty much the same equine coverage?
No, and that is why it is important to read and understand your policy.
A significant difference between mortality policies is agreed value, versus fair market value or actual cash value coverage.
Agreed Value (AV) means that the insurer will pay the value of the horse that is stated on the policy.
Actual Cash Value (ACV) or Market Values means that the insurer will pay the value of the horse at the time of its death or the value at the time when the disease or illness resulting in its death is manifested. If the horse's value has decreased due to an illness or injury or if its value was overstated when it was originally insured, the insurer will pay the lesser between the value stated on the policy and the current market value.
Markel's mortality policy includes agreed value coverage
Medical/Surgical coverage varies significantly between insurers.It is important to carefully read the medical/surgical endorsement to the mortality policy to determine:
Does the insurer pay up to the benefit limit, all or a % of diagnostic or aftercare surgical or medical treatment?
For how long of a period will the insurer pay for aftercare treatment?
Does the insurer pay up to the benefit limit, all or a % of a surgical treatment?
Does the insurer pay for veterinarian recommended treatments such as chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, corrective shoeing, aqua-tread, treadmill, whirlpool, magnetic, laser, not-elective dental, and non-surgical lameness?
Q: Why do I have to answer so many questions in order to insure my horse?
An insurer needs information on a horse's health and value. This is particularly necessary when a company is insuring a horse for its agreed value and it is providing comprehensive major/medical protection.
Markel offers a hassle free policy application that includes six health questions for horses valued up to $30,000.
A vet-cert is required for values in excess of $30,000 if a horse has a pre-existing condition, or prior health history abnormalities. This is our Standard All Risk Application.
Establishing Value; At Markel a horse's value is established by its cash purchase price within the past 24 months. A Justification of Value form (training, showing, breeding history) needs to be completed for a horse that's value is in excess of it purchase price.
Q: Why do I need to notify insurer if my horse is treated for a minor condition?
It is a standard condition of all mortality policies and medical/surgical endorsements that the insurer be notified in the event of any illness, disease, lameness, injury, accident or physical disability to the horse.
This is required because minor treatments can lead to more serious and sometimes life threatening conditions.
Q: My mare's policy excludes colic. How are exclusions determined?
Information provided from the declaration of health or vet cert is used by the insurer to evaluate any pre-existing health conditions of the horse.
The insurer may require additional information from the insured or their veterinarian before deciding if a pre-existing exclusion is required.
Based on circumstances the exclusion may be reviewed during the policy period or at the policy expiration.