Most Interesting People 2013: Laura Bennett

Laura Bennett

CEO and co-founder of
embrace pet insurance, 46

Pet perseverance After a friend's cat got sick and resulted in a more than $5,000 bill, Bennett and Embrace co-founder Alex Krooglik researched pet insurance for a business plan competition during their MBA program. "I realized this was it. I grew up with a household of pets. We had eight cats, two dogs, guinea pigs, a rabbit, a parakeet and gerbils. I felt like I could relate to people."

Dogged devotion Like Bennett, who shares her life on the Embrace blog and social media sites, her company is open about the coverages it provides — from cancer treatment to alternative therapy. "Pet insurance isn't seen as much better than alien abduction insurance. It does exist. You pay your money, and ideally you get reimbursed, but people weren't getting reimbursed. We do many things to make people more comfortable with us."

The Fido fix On a typical day in the Embrace office, you'll find employees' dogs and cats sniffing and slinking around. "Having pets in the office is so good for mental and physical health. Pets reduce your blood pressure and stress, prevent heart disease and even reduce depression."

Furry fantasties Bennett's three cats sometimes join her at the office. But, her dream pet isn't typical. "I'd like a house hippo please," says Bennett who saw an advertisement that parodies a mouse-sized hippo that roams homes in North America.

Adventures abound The British-born Bennett searched for the Loch Ness Monster as a youth and climbed Mount Cotopaxi, a glacial volcano with a peak altitude of more than 18,000 feet. She also backpacked across South America for 10 weeks with her husband, John, whom she met on a Canadian street corner while trying to buy tickets to a Radiohead concert.

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