Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Former downtown development director branches into pet insurance

Few people ask themselves the question, "Do I need pet insurance?" but if your dog or cat mean anything to you it could be an expensive lesson to learn.

Last year when her 10-year-old Lab mix JoJo slipped on the tile floor and tore her anterior cruciate ligament, Shirley Chastain found herself looking at a four-figure bill she'd never imagined. Her veterinarian worked with her, and JoJo is fine now, but the experience sent her in a career direction she hadn't forseen.

Chastain is now the principal of 4paws Care, a pet insurance company that works under the aegis of the Holden-McCarty agency in downtown Idaho Falls.

"I would say half the people I've talked to have heard of it," she said.

For eight years, Chastain was the executive director of the Idaho Falls Downtown Development Corp. When she left that job, she figured she'd make her living consulting and doing cut glass (www.artistryand1.com). Her passion for critters made adding pet insurance to her resume an appealing option.

One can get licensed to sell pet insurance in Idaho, but most pet insurance providers require brokers tto get certified to sell property and casualty as well. Chastain is licensed to sell those and homeowner's and auto policies. But pet insurance is what gets her most excited.

"Auto may be a necessity, but Fido is my passion," she said.

The younger and healthier a pet is, the less it's going to cost each month (a typical monthly charge is $30 to $40).

"I really do believe it's a necessity," she said. "If you're a dog or cat owner, this is part of your family."

In first encounters, it's the wives and mothers who are most receptive to the idea. "Men will say, 'I can take care of this,' but you don't have to dig much to learn they're just as attached," Chastain said.
To find out more about 4paws Care, follow this link: www.4pawsCare.com.