Mitigating risk is a pillar of the insurance industry, whether that be for homes, automobiles or healthcare. Policyholders exchange a monthly premium for peace of mind. And with over $1.2 trillion in premiums paid in 2017, there is no shortage of risk being mitigated.

This piece-of-mind is why Christie Horvath and Alison Foxworth started Wagmo—to help pet parents mitigate the risk for their furry friends.

Wagmo is a pet insurance company using programmable ACH payments to reimburse policyholders. Pet parents can get a quote from the website for their dog or cat and once approved, submit a claim and receive a reimbursement directly to their bank account.

Horvath unapologetically loves the insurance industry and spent six years working in the traditional insurance space when she faced her own emergency involving her dog Denver, who was suffering from a brain tumor. The experience helped her see a blatant inefficiency in the claim reimbursement process.

“I was filling out a PDF, faxing it back and waiting between four and six weeks just to have a check mailed to me for a reimbursement,” Horvath says. “That blew my mind. I saw first-hand the potential for a great pet insurance product.”

Joined by Foxworth, the duo started Wagmo and has closed the gap between what pet owners expect from a pet insurance product and what was available in the market. Additionally, Wagmo offers a wellness product and continues to roll out their insurance product to all 50 states.

“Our approach has been to put pet parents first and the lynchpin to all of this is our claims process,” Horvath says. “We have integrated Dwolla in such a way that our claims systems will take only one click to initiate a reimbursement. And that is delivered to their bank account.”

Wagmo Business Case Graphic

Payment Training in Ten Days

Wagmo launched its first wellness product in the market towards the end of 2018 with the value of being reimbursed quickly. Prior to Dwolla, policyholders were submitting an invoice and receiving a reimbursement from Horvath.

“As claim volumes started to increase, we realized how painful this process really was. So we started scrambling to figure out an alternative.”

Horvath started searching for payment providers and tapped into her Techstars network to ask mentors about various payment solutions. All of them came back with the same suggestion: bank transfers work best for reimbursements.

“I kept getting referred to work with my bank,” Horvath says. “But that never really made a ton of sense to me. It was expensive and slow, and not great for a high-volume of transfers.”

Horvath needed a payment solution that could easily be integrated and was reasonably priced. 10 days after a kickoff call with Dwolla, Wagmo completed an integration and started offering reimbursements via ACH transactions.

Today, they are handling nearly 1,000 claim payments each month on their Wellness plan alone.

“The Dwolla implementation was super easy,” Horvath says. “That’s what we were looking for, we didn’t have the time to do a four-week implementation or custom build. Having Dwolla be pretty much plug-n-play was super important to us.”

1. Transfer Initiated via the Dwolla API to fund Dwolla Master Balance

POST https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/transfers
Accept: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Content-Type: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Authorization: Bearer {{token}}
Idempotency-Key: {{idempotencyKey}}
{
  "_links": {
      "source": {
          "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{WagmoBankFundingSourceId}}"
      },
      "destination": {
          "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{SellerFundingSourceId}}"
      }
  },
  "amount": {
      "currency": "USD",
      "value": "2000.00"
  },
}
...
HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Location: https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/transfers/{{transferId}}

2. Transfer Initiated to Send Funds Received by the End User

POST https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/mass-payments
Accept: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Content-Type: application/vnd.dwolla.v1.hal+json
Authorization: Bearer {{token}}
Idempotency-Key: {{idempotencyKey}}
{
   "_links": {
       "source": {
           "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{WagmoBalanceFundingSourceId}}"
       }
   },
   "items": [
     {
       "_links": {
           "destination": {
               "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{CustomerABankFundingSourceId}}"
           }
       },
       "amount": {
           "currency": "USD",
           "value": "100.00"
       }
     },
     {
       "_links": {
           "destination": {
               "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{CustomerBBankFundingSourceId}}"
           }
       },
       "amount": {
           "currency": "USD",
           "value": "200.00"
       }
     },
     {
       "_links": {
           "destination": {
               "href": "https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/funding-sources/{{CustomercBankFundingSourceId}}"
           }
       },
       "amount": {
           "currency": "USD",
           "value": "300.00"
       }
     }
   ]
}
…
HTTP/1.1 201 Created
Location: https://api-sandbox.dwolla.com/mass-payments/{{masspayId}}

In addition to the ease-of-integration, Wagmo is on Dwolla’s Pay-As-You-Go pricing tier—which is ideal for young companies, Horvath says. Wagmo is able to pay per-transaction without having to make a long-term commitment.

“I went out and looked at other options for ACH but what I found was kind of clunky and very much designed for the accounts payable space,” Horvath explains. “We could have hacked something together but when I learned about the pay-as-you-go plan, Dwolla became a no-brainer. That pricing structure is exactly what we needed.”

Expanding the Litter

Pet parents can get a quote from the Wagmo website by entering a few pieces of information about their dog or cat. To submit a claim, Wagmo simply requests an image of the invoice. That data is extracted, classified by the type of procedure and calculated. One click of a button from the Wagmo team will initiate the reimbursement.

“That’s exactly what we wanted, one click and the customer can accept a payment,” Horvath says. “And today, the majority of our members opt for reimbursements via ACH.”

Once the transaction is initiated, the policyholder is sent an email and money is in their bank account, sometimes as fast as the next day. Wagmo currently offers Dwolla transfers for Wellness plans only, but hopes to extend the service to Wagmo Insurance policyholders soon.

“We’re the only company that can turn around claims that fast for sure,” Horvath says. “Even in the traditional insurance space, the fastest I’ve seen has been a week and up to six weeks. That’s all because of Dwolla.”

Horvath says beyond expanding the insurance coverage to be available in all 50 states, Wagmo will continue focusing on its claims operations.

“We have this first-class process that we’ve built from the ground up, it sets us apart from others, continuing to automate and scale that is a huge focus for us,” Horvath says. “Dwolla has been really flexible with us and that’s super helpful for young companies.”

Wagmo Team Photo
Wagmo Founders Alison Foxworth & Christie Horvath / Aspen