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    H-E-B, Canadian Company Team to Offer Pet Insurance

    SAN ANTONIO -- H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here has signed a three-year agreement with Oakville, Ont.-based Pethealth, Inc. to offer pet health insurance and microchip technology to the retailer's pet-owning shoppers in Texas.

    SAN ANTONIO -- H.E. Butt Grocery Co. here has signed a three-year agreement with Oakville, Ont.-based Pethealth, Inc. to offer pet health insurance and microchip technology to the retailer's pet-owning shoppers in Texas.

    Under the terms of the agreement, Pethealth has created a private label pet insurance program for HEB, with a dedicated Web site and in-store promotion to start rolling out later this year. A more intensive advertising and promotional campaign is expected to follow in late 2006 or early 2007.

    The collaboration will include joint marketing by HEB and Pethealth of the latter company's 24PetWatch microchip program. HEB will facilitate broader use of the program, working with animal welfare organizations throughout Texas. According to Pethealth, microchip awareness in the state has grown due to last year's hurricanes, which resulted in the separation of many pets from their owners.

    "The agreement with HEB will do much to solidify our leading position in the state of Texas, not only as a provider of pet health insurance, but also as a provider of microchip technology for dogs and cats," said Pethealth president and c.e.o. Mark Warren in a statement. "Our model for the wider distribution of pet health insurance includes leveraging the brands of our retail partners, and HEB is without question one of the strongest retail brands in Texas. We have been very pleased with H-E-B's approach, which will see us looking over the course of our partnership to expand our offerings beyond insurance and microchipping."

    As well as providing pet health insurance and pet-related data management services to the North American companion animal industry, Pethealth offers a range of products and services for veterinarians, shelters, and pet owners through various wholly owned subsidiaries using such brand names as PetCare, ShelterCare, and 24PetWatch.

    With over 60,000 employees, HEB serves millions of customers in more than 150 communities throughout Texas and Mexico.

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