Mark Harrop Business Development Manager

Apr 18
2017

Pet insurers can learn from canine cunning

A new study demonstrating smart dogs use deception to get what they want from humans comes as no surprise to Aquarium Software.

The pet insurance technologist says owners and insurers alike can learn from such “impressive flexibility in behaviour” and canine consideration of all the options, rather than following rules. The research, published in Animal Cognition suggests dogs are more likely to direct humans unwilling to share treats to an empty box, while generous humans were led to a box containing a sausage. Intelligent animals like monkeys take many repetitions before working out the optimum ‘sausage strategy’, so a dog’s ability to work this out first time has given researchers and senior management at Aquarium serious paws for thought.

“It seems you can teach an old dog new tricks after all, where food is concerned,” said Mark Colonnese, Sales and Marketing Director at Aquarium Software. “Owners familiar with ‘puppy eyes’ tactics will not be surprised but the study shows us dogs recognise the value of thinking outside the box and the risk of doggedly following traditional rules no matter what the circumstances.

Aquarium recognised that one size doesn’t fit all and that traditional insurance industry software would need tailoring to the singular demands of the pet insurance sector or risk a dog’s dinner. A pet is not a house or a car, and policies must reflect that. Different breeds have different needs and to be financially viable, insurance must take account of such unique factors, and that’s why software is the key to opening the right box - by keeping vendors in profit and thus providing policyholders with premiums they can afford.

“An inflexible attitude, coupled with attempts to apply traditional insurance models to the unique aspects of pet insurance has seen many pull out of the sector,” added Colonnese. “But for those with canine cunning and technology to be led to the right box, the reward is a US market valued at $62 billion. The UK market is not the ‘hot dog’ of US proportions, but an estimated £2.5 billion in annual premiums is hardly an old banger.”

The complexity of understanding the risks associated with multiple breeds, species and product types proves a powerful disincentive to those without the right tools and this is where Aquarium comes in. Rather than the tail wagging the dog, Aquarium manages this complexity with significant savings in operating cost and increased organisational flexibility.