Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

Feb 16

Time for pet insurance to cast off the shadow of Groundhog Day syndrome,

Aquarium Software is marking this year’s Groundhog Day (2 February) in the US by calling for an end to insurers making the same old mistakes again and again when it comes to pet policies, which is costing the industry and consumers alike. With the latest technology, there is no reason why legacy issues should continue to cast a shadow over potentially one of the fastest growing markets in the US.

At 129 years old, Punxsutawney Phil may have taken the elixir of life, but with US pet insurance growth in 2014 triple the pace of accident and health coverage, most pets are not so lucky. As this $600 million industry looks set to expand again in 2015, to realise its full potential, insurers must cut out the mistakes that beset the industry and stop making such heavy weather of improving the all-important customer journey.

“To some working in the pet insurance sector I am sure it must feel like ‘Groundhog Day’ with them reliving the same day again and again,” said Mark Colonnese, VP Sales and Marketing. “You don’t need Phil’s predictive powers to know what upsets pet parents, so why the industry keeps making the same mistakes when software can rectify them at a stroke is something of a mystery. We really need to step out from under this shadow once and for all.”

Colonnese points out the common complaint of pet parents is that they want the same features from their pet insurance as they have in their own health cover, plus the same high standards of service and transparency. Yet with the diverse needs of different breeds and species to consider, pet insurance is much more complex and insurers need to be on top of their game and deliver a cost effective competitive process, without being out of pocket. Good technology makes this possible.

Software can place all the necessary data at an insurer’s fingertips, allowing them to track specific animals and trends, identify common health problems, spot fraud and even tell you the most popular pet names! The commercial advantage of interrogating all of this data is found not just in tailoring premiums to suit a specific animal, right down to the state (or burrow) it lives in, but improves consumer confidence and the customer journey.        

Accurate forecasting the health of our furry friends allows us to tailor their insurance and healthcare needs, delivering a better experience and a brighter future for all concerned. The Aquarium pet insurance platform employs ‘management by exception’ tactics, designed to give users pertinent information when they need it, rather than reams of data that may not be immediately relevant. If you are dealing with a policy for a groundhog, you don’t need data on dogs or birds.

The elephant in the room is many insurers are still engaging in a ‘one size fits all’ form of forecasting; and some have pulled out of the market altogether. The software needed isn’t science fiction; its science fact and big players like VPI have demonstrated it is proven to work.

“In 2014, AXA pulled out of the UK pet market due to concerns over profitability, but even this can be managed effectively with the right software. In the US, we can see companies delivering competitive policies coupled with a positive customer journey are reaping the rewards,” added Mark. “The big boys are buying up smaller players to boost brand footprint and investors are now pricking up their ears. The demand for pet insurance is only going one way and unless Phil markets his elixir, those using software to deliver accurate forecasts should finally see Groundhog Day syndrome in pet insurance a thing of the past.”

Less than 1% of American pets have insurance cover (Huffington Post) when compared to the estimated 25% of pets that are insured in the UK and 48% in Sweden, giving the US market massive, untapped potential.