Pet owner frustrated over insurance claim
Published Wednesday, June 22, 2016 12:57PM PDT
A Comox woman was grateful to have pet insurance when her dog needed surgery but hit multiple roadblocks when she actually filed a claim.
Jocelyn Bystrom’s cocker spaniel, Ollie, needed surgery to a fix a serious eye gland issue called “cherry eye.” Ollie recovered well from the surgery, but it cost more than $700.
Bystrom figured that part of the cost would be recouped since she had purchased a one year pet insurance policy with a company called 24PetWatch. According to the company’s website, hereditary and congenital conditions such as cherry eye would be covered.
“We were grateful that we had insurance and assumed that we would have 80 per cent coverage,” said Bystrom.
However, even though she says she was assured several times by the company her paperwork was complete, she ran into obstacles when she tried to collect on the claim. She even says Ollie’s veterinarian bills and medical history were submitted twice.
“I’ve spoken to four or five different named individuals who will say, ‘Yes Mrs. Bystrom, we have received everything we need and we will now process your claim,’” she said. “The process gets to the point where you’re ready to cry about it. It’s pretty frustrating.”
24PetWatch, which is also known at Pethealth Inc. and PTZ Insurance Agency, was launched in Oakville, Ont. but has addresses outside Chicago in Rolling Meadows, Ill. and a P.O. box in Buffalo, N.Y.
Better Business Bureau reports from Canada and the United States show 101 complaints, but since the company is an accredited member, all of them were resolved, so the business maintains an A plus rating.
The day CTV News reached out to the company, Bystrom’s claim was paid, and she was mailed a cheque for $535.
“The pressure was on for them to come up with a solution and all of a sudden the manager got involved and there was a solution found,” said Bystrom.
In a statement, the company said they were missing medical records, stating that: “Only medical records for the day of treatment were provided” and in order to process the claim, the company needed “completed claim form, itemized invoice, and a complete medical history.” The company says it reached out to the veterinarian to get what it needed.
Bystrom has since cancelled her policy and advises consumers who find themselves in a similar situation to keep meticulous records.
“Really document all the details every step of the way,” said Bystrom. “When you make phone calls, when you get emails have copies of everything.”
Pethealth says it has now implemented an online customer claim portal to make it easier to file and track claims.