Andre Williams loves Tyson, his 4-year-old Rottweiler. But Williams did not love, as he says, “having to spend a crapload of money on veterinary bills.” Like many dog owners, he’d look at his pooch and see an empty piggy bank.
As the quality of pet healthcare increases, so too does the cost, which means pets with problems can soon become financial burdens. In extreme cases, dog and cat owners can be forced into making difficult decisions: either break the bank to save their four-legged loved one, or go the heart-wrenching, yet cheaper, route of putting the animal down.
With that in mind, Williams started First Pet Life Insurance, a Dallas-based Internet company. First Pet Life is not, in fact, the first pet insurance company, but CEO Williams hopes his will stand out from the pack. First Pet Life aims to be a one-stop shop, offering not only insurance, but also products, grooming, and boarding.
Williams graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in marketing and spent 10 years in that industry. In 2004, he started to work on an account for a pet supplier, and the idea for First Pet Life was born. The company, which launched in October 2006, is still in its infancy. In its first three months, Williams sold only 38 policies.
“Most people don’t even know that the service exists,” he says. “Our biggest objective is to put it out there in the public eye, because from a practical standpoint pet insurance just makes sense.”