“Doggone Insurance Claims!”

Dog Bite Claims Costs Increase 16% in 2011 to $479 Million

Despite the best intentions of National Dog Bite Prevention Week which occurs the third week of May every year, statistics reveal that the cost of claims for dog bites increased from a year earlier according to estimates from the Insurance Information Institute.

The average cost of a dog bite claim now stands at $29,396, up more than 50% since 2004.

And lest you think there’s no corollary between this trend and your insurance premiums, think again.  Dog bites now account for more than one-third of ALL homeowners liability claims filed.  State Farm, one of America’s largest home insurers, accounted for approximately 23% of all claims dollars spent on dog bites in 2011.  (USAToday)

Among several interesting observations in these articles:

  • In the United States, there is one dog for every four people
  • Half of ALL children will be bitten by a dog before the age of 12, usually by a family pet or that of a friend or neighbor
  • A child is 900 times more likely than a letter carrier to be attacked by a dog
  • Dog attacks resulting in death are extremely rare

When insurance claims are filed on behalf of minors bitten by dogs, structured settlements are frequently implemented to aid in the settlement and court approval process.  Settlement proceeds can be set aside to help meet a child’s future education needs and/or scar revision surgery which may be necessary as a result of disfiguring bites.

In support of Dog Bite Prevention Week, we are pleased to share this video of Dr. Stacey Wallach, a veterinarian who offers tips for parents on how to avoid dog bites.

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