Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

Jul 07

Mid-summer exclusion madness highlights pet insurance market opportunities

As we hit mid-summer, news that one in three pet insurance policies will not automatically pay out if incidents occur abroad could lead to radical changes in the way the pet insurance market works, says Aquarium.

The Daily Mail in the UK reports that those who take their dogs abroad can face sky-high veterinary bills if they jet off without checking their insurance, and that tens of thousands of families now take their pets on holiday in Europe and further afield. The increasing popularity of people taking their pets on holiday has occurred largely thanks to relaxed rules and pet passports – but owners aren’t aware that they’re not covered and risking losing thousands of pounds.  In France, for example, it would cost nearly £3,500 (US $5567; EUROS 4879) for surgery, if your pet was unlucky enough to be hit by a car.

Aquarium believes this brings into sharp focus not just how important the correct pet cover is, but that it should be approached by consumers - and the industry - with the same importance and level of detail as traditional forms of general insurance, such as home and motor.

“Most people would check their buildings and contents cover to make sure the policy was adequate and appropriate – many insurers now even estimate your rebuild and contents replacement costs making you sign to confirm you have given the full detail to enable correct cover and premium pricing,” says Mark Colonnese, VP Sales and Marketing. “However, not all insurers apply the same level of detail in their pet insurance applications, so there is a win-win opportunity here for insurers and consumers to act more responsibly and collate and disclose as much relevant information as possible”, Mark adds. 

“It’s understandable why most companies don’t want to insure pets abroad and when travelling, as there’s a potentially unquantifiable risk, but Allianz’s Petplan brand has shown through its inclusion of automatic cover when it comes to travel, that there’s a long term customer journey benefit to be had in including such risks - for both provider and consumer,” he says.

Mark believes the way pet insurance providers co-operate with pet parents can and will change, in a positive way for all.

“The future of the pet insurance market will be based on statistical risk, in line with more established (and therefore more sophistically operated) general insurance policies,” he says.  “Allianz’s Petplan policy is able to include pet travel cover automatically, and we believe this can pave the way for other insurers to properly understand the insurable pet risk by harvesting valuable MI, and pricing pet travel either as a costed ‘included’ item, or as a costed ‘add-on.’ This would offer the consumer greater transparency - and overall - premiums for diligent pet parents would become more affordable,” Colonnese adds.

“The wrap of course is that high insurable risks would need to be paid for. We work very closely with our clients to ensure all aspects of the pet and policyholder and factored in the pricing model so that we obtain true risk-based pricing. Only this way can insurers achieve sustainable, profitable books of business,” he concludes.