Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

Apr 08

Strange pet claims highlight insurance gains

In the wake of Asda Money revealing some of the strangest claims made on its accident-only pet insurance, bosses at Aquarium Software say accidents can reveal a lot about the insurance market - and that the power of software to reduce premiums was almost a fortunate ‘accident’ waiting to happen in itself.

Top of the pet pickles in terms of cost was swallowing a needle and thread, which cost £430 to sort out, while eating tablets (£410) and chewing batteries (£430) came a close second and third. Bizarrely, eating a heat pad was fifth and cost a staggering £1,830 in vets’ bills, yet the research revealed that more than half of pet owners (57%) don’t have pet insurance and therefore no protection from such unexpected costs.

“Tracking trends in accidents is important, as it allows policy providers to highlight dangers and price policies appropriately, which in the long term can cut costs,” said Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing Director. “In this case, we can warn people that household items need to be kept out of reach of pets as much as young children. Intelligent software allows such trends to be spotted much more easily, but it took the industry a while to catch onto the inherent advantages.”

In the early days, the pet insurance market was slow to recognise the sector needed the same rigour and tools as the mainstream car and home insurance sectors in order to make for a profitable business, without pricing consumers out of the cover they need. It was almost as if the industry had to have an accident of its own in this regard before the value of software solutions could be fully appreciated.

The unprecedented expansion of the industry has come about in tandem with the rising cost of vets’ bills as new treatments are developed. Fears over costs, profitability and fraud led some providers like AXA to pull out of the market, but as industry specific technology solutions have been embraced, costs have come down, fraud is being controlled and profits are on the rise, making such moves for the exit look premature.

If insurers can better predict which breeds and types of animal will develop what condition and what accidents are most likely, premiums and policies can be tailored accordingly and policy holders, vets and others can be given the right guidance on how best to keep their pets healthier and safer for longer.
“Pet insurance is just as complex as human health insurance and is now recognised that it cannot be treated as a pet project but is a significant market in its own right,” added Mark. “Asda is not alone in offering accident-only pet insurance as more providers are tailoring products to meet the needs of pet parents. Pets are part of the family now and software is one way the complexities of the conditions faced by pets can be taken into account and make the right cover for consumers more affordable than ever, while giving the industry a viable business model.”