Rising cost of dog bite claims will ultimately lead to fairer insurance premiums

Rising cost of dog bite claims will ultimately lead to fairer insurance premiums

Jul 01, 2016

A recent rise in the average insurance claim for dog bites will lead to fairer priced insurance premiums for dog owners, says pet insurance technology expert Aquarium Software – but it warned there will be winners and losers, due to higher medical expenses and larger legal settlement fees (a recent statement from the Insurance Information Institute shows that the average insurance claim for dog bites rose in 2015 [1]).

Claims data, pooled by niche technology platforms such as Aquarium’s, can enable insurance policies to be priced more fairly, based on harvested data from previous cases. The losers are likely to be irresponsible pet parents being penalised for risky behaviours, while those who look after their dogs responsibly will be rewarded in the long-run with lower premiums.

Incidents in the US, rose by more than 15 per cent in 2015 [2] with the overall cost to the pet insurance industry believed to be more than $570 million for the year [3], all this despite the number of claims declining.
Recently in the UK, 11 children were injured in one incident alone when a Staffordshire bull terrier attacked them in a park in Northumberland [4]. With an estimated 70-80 million dogs in the US alone [5], dog owners will be charged in the future according to the specific risks associated with their postcode, breed, demographic group, to mention but a few criteria.

Mark Colonnese, Aquarium’s Sales & Marketing Director, said: “It’s a sad fact that when it comes to certain breeds of dogs, there’s a risk of them attacking people or other dogs,” said Mark. “These risks however can be heavily mitigated by good diet, exercise and training. And we don’t just mean the owners (!)
“Eventually, there will be enough data in the system to suggest whether Mr A from Albuquerque’s Alsatian or Ms S from Stuttgart’s Samoyed are good risks or a bad ones. This means the person on the next street with the same dog breed may not however be paying the same premium.”
Statistics show that every day in the US about 1,000 people need emergency treatment as a result of a dog bite injury [6], whilst in the UK, the number of people admitted to hospitals for injuries caused by dogs rose 76 per cent from 2005 to 2015 [7]. All of this has led to a change in laws pertaining to dog ownership in recent years, with liability put squarely on owners and more severe punishments in place for them.