Compulsory pet microchipping needs unified technology platform
With compulsory microchipping for all dogs in England set to come into effect from 6 April 2016, pet insurance software expert Aquarium says a unified pet register is an important pillar in the battle against pet insurance fraud. The new microchipping law will help reunite lost pets to their owners but is a missed opportunity from an insurers’ point of view as there will continue to exist multiple microchip databases and still no single repository which can assist in the fight against insurance fraud against bogus animal claims.
Currently, the UK has a total of six different microchip databases . Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing Director at Aquarium Software, says a central pet register would assist insurers by collating information on registered dogs, and indeed all pets into one centralised list; this would potentially reduce fraud and theft, whilst dramatically enhancing management information (MI) available to the industry and authorised agencies.
“Whilst the impending compulsory microchipping law should be commended for its aspects of accountability and welfare when it comes to dogs, it’s vital that the correct technology platforms and protocols are in place. There will undoubtedly be a huge shift in the pet insurance landscape when it comes to April which calls for planning and a review of current procedures.
“A central register can help realise the full potential set out by the new laws, whilst simultaneously cutting out the fraudulent bad eggs,” says Colonnese.
Mark says intuitive technology platforms are imperative in order for such a register to operate and perform adequately, for the technology to stand up to the strains and demands which will inevitably be put on it with new claims and a surge in pet registrations. Dog owners for example are responsible for ensuring that contact details held in relation to their dog’s microchip are accurate and up to date. If details are not correct, then the dog in question will not be considered as microchipped – an error which will lead to a £500 fine, once the legislation is enforceable.
“This is just one of many reasons why consumers will be keen to comply,” explained Mark. “But it’s a sad fact that there will also be individuals looking to exploit the system in this transitional period. When a dog is sold for example, it should be registered to a specific owner, which should then align with a specific, traceable microchip. Microchipping per se is a brilliant idea, but it’s an imperfect total solution. What is really needed is a system of accurate, real-time record-checking; for that to be done effectively using a register, it needs to be combined and underpinned with a dynamic technology platform to drive it,” he concluded.