Editors' pick: Originally published July 8.
Americans spend more than $60 billion on their pets each year and now the pet insurance industry, once an "extravagant expense," is booming, CNBC's Kelly Evans said on "Closing Bell" Thursday.
"There's an estimated 160 million dogs and cats as pets in this country and one of the fastest growing areas is pet insurance, which is only estimated to be $700 million so far," CNBC's Jane Wells reported, adding that pet insurance currently only covers 2% to 3% of pets.
However, as Americans continue to "humanize" their pets and Millennials steer clear of having kids, large corporations are beginning to offer pet insurance as an employee benefit.
Chicago-based pet insurance startup Figo has raised $8 million and is being offered to many Fortune 500 companies. In fact, one out of every three or four Fortune 500 companies offers pet insurance to employees, Figo Founder Rusty Sproat said on CNBC.
Fortune 500 refers to the 500 largest corporations in America, ranked by total revenue by Fortune magazine.
Also appealing to Millennials, Figo is an app. "Of course it's easier to do with pets because of no HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) regulations," Wells noted.
"We'll send you text messages when your shots are due, we'll tell you what those shots are. We will let you file a claim via your mobile phone," Sproat explained.
The average premium for pet insurance is between $450 to $500 a year.
Shares of Markel are rising by 0.74% to $939.20 early Friday morning.
Separately, TheStreet Ratings rated Markel as a "buy" with a score of B+.
This is driven by several positive factors, which can be seen in multiple areas, such as its revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures, notable return on equity and solid stock price performance. TheStreet Ratings feels its strengths outweigh the fact that the company shows weak operating cash flow.
You can view the full analysis from the report here: MKL
TheStreet Ratings objectively rated this stock according to its "risk-adjusted" total return prospect over a 12-month investment horizon. Not based on the news in any given day, the rating may differ from Jim Cramer's view or that of this articles's author.