Tabby TB set to make pet owners cough up higher insurance premiums
While news that domestic cats have passed tuberculosis (TB) onto their human owners comes as a great shock, the risk to human health is “very low”. Aquarium Software says pet insurance is the forgotten part of this story, as while TB is treatable in both humans and animals, rising vet bills and pet insurance premiums means animal lovers and insurers alike could be coughing up in more ways than one - and that effective insurance software is the best means to stem these rising costs.
“It is tempting to view this as a scare story and while we need to keep it in perspective, the threat to pet health is real,” said Sales and Marketing Director Mark Colonnese. “TB is treatable and as the risk to humans is very low, we should focus on those facing hefty vet bills and insurance premiums as a consequence. This story is another wake up call to resolve the issue of the rising costs now associated with UK pet insurance.”
In humans and animals early treatment of TB is essential. If your pet shows signs of coughing, wheezing or weight loss, then a trip to the vet is advisable. The rising vet bills could put many off and you cannot usually claim for pre-existing conditions and once claimed, no insurer will touch you or renewals could increase by 40% or more. Of nine cats infected in the Home Counties, six were put down, one is missing, but two survived following treatment.
While believed to be the first documented cases of animal to human transference, TB has been creeping up on all of us. In 2010 the number of cases in the UK topped 9,000 - the highest figure for 30 years. While not life threatening if caught early, 300 people still die from the TB every year.
Aquarium Software has been developing innovative products to help insurance providers drive down costs and keep premiums low for policyholders. While such systems have been embraced in the traditional insurance markets of home and car insurance – the pet insurance market has been slow to switch. Yet pet illness is more treatable than ever- at a price.
“Pet insurance has been regarded as a pet project far too long,” added Mark. “It hasn’t been afforded the respect it deserved in terms of the resources and assets needed to service it and in the potential it had for growth. Pet insurance went from runt of the litter to top dog overnight, yet using the right software, insurers and policyholders can have their cake and eat it: a viable business model on the one hand and policies that protect both pet and policy holder pockets.”
Many of us admit that if it came to a choice, we would insure our pets before ourselves. New figures suggest we spend an average of £17,000 on our pets over their lifetime, but with vet fees rising by as much as 15%, it is hardly surprising insurance is proving more popular. The twin issues of rising cost and fraud has led to providers like Axa pulling out of the UK market but Colonnese says we shouldn’t be axing this product just yet.
“Thanks to modern software, there is no reason why pet owners should not be able to source the insurance they need at a price they can afford,” added Mark. “Using existing technology backed by management with exception, there is no reason why insurers or consumers should be forced to cough up to cough up more than necessary.”