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Friday, November 4, 2011

Mortality Insurance Needs to Keep Up With the Times

Whatever It Takes was euathanized on October 22 after suffering from pneumonia and laminitis.  Let me state it right now, I assume the decision was made in the best interest of the horse and there is no evidence to indicate it wasn't.

That being said, there are some people who feel the ownership may have been quick to euthanize the horse because it was likely the horse would never be able to race again and there was an insurance policy on the horse (though we have no evidence this was the case).

Actuallly, this story is not about Whatever It Takes but mortality insurance for horses.  We need to face the fact there are times a horse will never be able to resume their racing career after illness or injury.  In this case, the vet may recommend euthanization because the horse will never be able to be used for racing or breeding; the cost involved in attempting to save the horse is not economically viable.  Sometimes an owner may attempt to influence the vet to make such a decision and who can blame them if the horse is insured for $500,000 and it will never race again?

There is a type of rider which is generally not available for race horses; it is called Full Loss of Use.  In this type of rider, the owner will get a percentage of the value of the horse in the event the horse will not be able to used for the purpose they were purchased for.  One company will pay 75% of the horse's stated value if the insurance company takes possession and 50% of the stated value and the owner gets to keep possession.   Now admittedly, being told you can get $250,000 back on a horse versus  $500,000, and the odds are the owner will go for the option which pays 100%.

Now if horse mortality policies were modified to pay 75% of the value of the horse if the horse is no longer able to perform the use they were purchased for, some horses that are euthanized may not be if they can be saved and used as pleasure horses.  All which is needed before payment is made to the owners is the registration of the horse would need to be changed to 'pleasure'; meaning the horse will not be able to be raced or used for breeding purposes.  The cost of the policies may increase, but perhaps it is time to change the policies to keep up with the times where people don't want you to destroy a horse just because it can not race again. 

Don't get me wrong.  If a horse is suffering greatly from an illness and injury, it should be euthanized as quickly as possible, but if it is just a question of a horse not being able to race anymore, the need to euthanize should not be an automatic decision; a Full Loss of Use option, may prevent these types of euthanizations from occuring.

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