Prohibited Dog List Clarification | German Shepherds

TO: Our Farm Mutual Partners

Prohibited Dog List Clarification | German Shepherds

In December 2012, RMIC announced revisions to our list of prohibited dog breeds, which included the addition of German Shepherds. Industry data, as well as our own claims experience, support that German Shepherds are a breed that generate a high percentage of dog bite injuries and claims.

Our announcement in 2012 specified that all farm mutual partners should begin to incorporate this updated “prohibited dog breed list” into all new account underwriting, as well as to seek to identify if any of these dogs are present when an updated inspection has been obtained.

We have received several inquiries asking how an existing account should be handled when a German Shepherd was already owned by insured prior to the revision to this prohibited breed list.

As a point of clarification, please note that we are “grand-fathering” all accounts that already had an owned German Shepherd on premises prior to this change being announced. An account with a dog breed that was acceptable at the time of issuance will not be penalized due to a change in our risk appetite. However; please note that any German Shepherd that has demonstrated past aggressive behavior without provocation would not be considered acceptable and steps to eliminate or reduce this exposure would be necessary.

As indicated above, dog bite claims are on the rise and we offer the following additional recommendations to help control this exposure:

  • Confirm that our prohibited dog breed list is a part of your policy application process. Your agents should confirm that they have reviewed the list with prospective insured and can attest that none of the unacceptable breeds are present.
  • Add a disclaimer to your application process which mandates that if an insured obtains a prohibited breed dog after the policy has been written, they are to immediately notify their agent of the change in exposure.
  • Add a flyer to each home renewal over the next year that addresses the impact of dog bite claims and reinforces our stance on prohibited breeds. RMIC will provide the text for this flyer.
  • Inquire about breeds of dogs during the inspection process.
  • Utilize dog exclusions for good accounts on a discretionary basis. Needs approval of RMIC Farm Mutual Underwriter.

We are confident that this clarification will provide you with necessary direction on how to handle accounts with German Shepherds and also provide further guidance on helping to reduce dog bite claims. Please do not hesitate to contact your Marketing Rep or Farm Mutual Underwriter if you have any questions.

Signed,
Rockford Mutual Insurance Company

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