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My insurance company just cancelled my horse's major medical??? is this legal?

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  • My insurance company just cancelled my horse's major medical??? is this legal?

    I have been using Taylor Harris and have been happy with them. I have the hot house flower boy that had laswonia, fetlock surgery, ocd, now a fractured third trochanter of the femour. he's 4....

    Suddenly I rceeive notice that because I insured him for less that 15K - mortality - that he is being dropped from major medical. It's a new policy. No policy holders are being grandfathered in and the only way I can now insure him for more than 15K is to prove, through show records, that he's worth that.

    Again, he's four and he hasn't even started yet.

    Is this even legal?

    major medical by the way is what covers everything you need, all the lameness and treatments and vet visits. I can get surgery and colic insurance but they cover ONLY surgery and colic.

  • #2
    They have to honor the term of the contract I believe but are free to do whatever they want when it expires. Most companies are going to the 15k minimum.
    McDowell Racing Stables

    Home Away From Home


    • #3
      This has to do with the underwriting company, Great American, not the insurance broker. Try getting a quote from a broker who uses different underwriters. There are still several who will offer major med with a mortality value under 15K.
      No Trouble
      2/2/05 - 7/29/13
      Rest In Peace my quirky brave boy, I will love you forever.


      • #4
        It does seem they'd have to honor the term of the contract. Do you have your paperwork?

        My horse is insured for $7500 and has either $7500 or $10K of major medical with Hallmark. No co-pay but a $300 deductible per claim. But I don't know what would happen if you went with a new insurer given your horse's prior issues.
        The Evil Chem Prof


        • #5
          It is a change by the underwriter, Great American.

          There have been several threads about it, do a search.

          Horse medical insurance is very different from human medical inusrance.

          Technically, it is not a "renewal" but a brand new contract each year, and they are under no obligation (legal or otherwise) to keep the same terms from year to year.

          chief feeder and mucker for Music, Spy, Belle and Tiara. Someone else is now feeding and mucking for Chief and Brain (both foxhunting now).


          • #6
            My insurer dropped my house and barn coverage because I have hay in the barn. It was renewed and paid in full Aug 31/12. A month ago I was asked to complete a form on my barn. I asked in regard to the hay and now they are cancelling me. They are not going the lenght of the term that would be Aug 31/13. Seems to me insurance companies can do whatever they please whenever they please. However given this 4 year old's medical history I can see why they are dropping you. I am also not surprised about the 15,000 minimum. I seriously question the wisdom in insuring a horse any more......I do need house and barn insurance but finding someone to insure a real barn and not a city lawn mower shed is becoming a challenge. Very disheartening.


            • #7
              Originally posted by Peggy View Post
              My horse is insured for $7500 and has either $7500 or $10K of major medical with Hallmark. No co-pay but a $300 deductible per claim. But I don't know what would happen if you went with a new insurer given your horse's prior issues.
              Im pretty sure I just renewd with GA at about what you are saying. IIRC its GA P&C or something. No issue with $15K limit but had 1 claim in 6+ years so mebbe they r changing cause you have claims?
              “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” Peter Drucker


              • Original Poster

                yes, and i understand that but i'd be happy to up his value to meet their requirement but they wont allow me to. id have started him at 15 if i'd ever known it would become a requirement. there ought to be a mechanism by which previously insured clients are grandfathered in or allowed to change the value. just to say "no, you get no more insurance and good luck finding someone else" feels a bit illegal to me


                • Original Poster

                  yes he has history but this is how they run their business, why they charge what they do and pay out what they do. the assumption is that most horses wont need to file as many claims. you have no more right to ask for your money back when you don't need them as they should have to refuse me service because i did.

                  i can also see why theyve decided horses insured for under 15k aren't profitable for them with major medical, so let me insure my horse for 15k.


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by tisor View Post
                    yes, and i understand that but i'd be happy to up his value to meet their requirement but they wont allow me to. id have started him at 15 if i'd ever known it would become a requirement. there ought to be a mechanism by which previously insured clients are grandfathered in or allowed to change the value. just to say "no, you get no more insurance and good luck finding someone else" feels a bit illegal to me
                    It's a contract. It lasts for a year. They are under ZERO obligation to renew the contract once the term has expired. How on earth does that feel illegal to you?

                    Keep in mind that you will have to justify the $15k mortality figure--no problem if you paid that or more for your horse, or if it's got the show history to support that value. But if your horse does not, then you cannot just decide to insure for that amount.


                    • #11
                      Not illegal. Underwriters/carriers review all insurance policies on a yearly basis as that is one of the only times they're allowed to make changes, with appropriate notice. I work in commercial insurance and I can make a change to a policy as long as it is 60 days prior to the renewal date and I send out a conditional renewal letter to the agent and insured.

                      Taylor Harris is a pretty large agency so I imagine they have appointments with most of the horse insurance carriers. I would make sure to give them a call to shop around for you. When I insured my horse I had her with QBE. More expensive than Great American, but they may not have instituted the $15k limit.

                      It does suck that this is changing, but like others said its most likely for profitability reasons. Just not enough premium I guess for horses under $15k. And as much as people like to villanize insurance companies, they are for profit entities that do also have a bottom line in mind and would not have a sustainable business model if they just paid for/covered everything under the sun. It's up to you whether or not you want to insure.


                      • #12
                        I had a problem with GA when I went to renew my insurance. I was honest on my form and told them that my horse had had a fever and swollen hind legs in the past year prior to renewal. Also an episode of colic whic resolved in 24 hours. I did not claim any of this on my insurance. GA wanted to exclude a temperature, and swelling of legs plus the colic. I understand the colic part, but swelling and temperature? There was a virus going through the barn where I kept the horse at the time she was ill and all the horses ran temps and has swollen legs. I said no thank you and called Taylor Harris. I disclosed all of the information and they insured my horse through Lloyds of London for $10,000 (less than she is worth, but to me she is priceless). There were no exclusions. I have been very happy with Lloyds and TH. If I have a claim, I would expect it to be excluded for a year then reinstated. I did hear that GA was no longer insuring horses for less than the MM/S amount.


                        • #13
                          Feels illegal? Perhaps. Actually illegal? Not at all. Like other said, horse major medical policies are very different from human health insurance. They are basically just yearly contracts. This is why they can exclude an injury sustained during one year from coverage when you "renew" the next year. Each year is a totally new agreement, and they can change the rules however they like. You are free to take it, or take your money elsewhere.

                          That is part of the reason I dropped insurance on my horse after one year. She had some serious medical issues during that year-and Great American was fabulous to deal with on my claims. But when renewal time came around, they were going to exclude so much that the policy wasn't worth it for me.