Pets Best Japan is starting sales as the ninth pet-health insurance company approved to do business in Japan.
More than 400,000 pets are believed to be insured in Japan, which has an estimated dog and cat population of 25 million. About 1.25 million pets are insured in the U.S., which is estimated to have a dog and cat population of 172 million.
Pets Best Insurance of Boise, Idaho, introduced the Pets Best Japan licensing agreement last year and has been working to gain government approval. In Japan, pet insurance is regulated similarly to in the U.S. Previously, such insurance in Japan was provided through unregulated mutual-aid associations.
Iwao Nonaga, CEO and founder of Pets Best Japan, said he spent 20 years trying to provide pet health insurance in Japan, ever since he met Jack Stephens, DVM, founder and president of Pets Best Insurance, the oldest and largest pet insurance company in the U.S.
“Fortunately, I have had Dr. Stephens’s assistance and encouragement in my efforts to provide pet insurance for Japanese pet owners," Nonaga said. "I now look forward to fulfilling my dream of insuring Japanese pets.”
Pets Best is a minority investor in Pets Best Japan and will receive royalties based on sales, in addition to licensing fees. Dr. Stephens serves on the PBJ board of directors and Nonaga’s team of 22 staff members.