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  • Dean Smith

Man’s Best Friend and his Effect on the Insurance Industry

According to Insurance Journal, man’s best friend costs the insurance industry a whopping $530 million per year, which accounts for over one-third of all homeowners insurance claims. The average cost of dog bite claims is steadily increasing, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm, even though the number of dog bite claims has decreased almost 5 percent last year. According to an analysis conducted by the Insurance Information Institute, “the average cost per dog bite claim was up 15 percent to $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013.” Factors contributing to the rising costs include settlement size, increasing costs of medical care, judgments, etc. It must also be noted that Fido’s teeth aren’t the sole factor in rising costs; he also has a habit of knocking into kids, bike riders and senior citizens, causing falls. And let’s also not forget that dogs typically have a love/hate relationship with the USPS (their workers’ compensation costs are over $3.7 billion, as dog bites are the most common on-the-job injury). Most importantly, Victoria Stilwell of Animal Planet’s TV series, It’s Me or the Dog, stresses that, “All dogs have the potential to bite, but for most, biting is a last resort. If time is taken to raise, teach and socialize a dog correctly, the likelihood of a bite incident occurring is extremely low. Confident dogs have less need to use aggressive behavior.” Here’s a look at the top 10 states with the highest number of dog bite claims in 2014 (and their average cost): California: 1,867 claims, $33,649 average cost per claim.Ohio: 1,009 claims, $21,983 average cost per claim.New York: 910 claims, $56,628 average cost per claim.Illinois: 872 claims, $34,894 average cost per claim.Pennsylvania: 861 claims, $26,211 average cost per claim.Michigan: 693 claims, $38,302 average cost per claim.Texas: 621 claims, $16,205 average cost per claim.Indiana: 481 claims, $21,287 average cost per claim.Georgia: 388 claims, $31,497 average cost per claim.Wisconsin: 388 claims, $26,873 average cost per claim. Moral of this story? If pets are raised in a healthy environment, we will save ourselves from costly litigation against our neighbors or the mailman! Source

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