Rising global vet bills making pet parents sick as a dog
As vet bills continue to rise globally, Anglo-American pet insurance technology specialists Aquarium Software says 2017 is set to become the year of pet insurance in many new geographical territories, as pet parents look to source the best available care for their beloved friends. The Far East and the Middle East are thought by Aquarium to be some of 2017’s hottest potential emerging markets for pet insurance. 2016 saw a host of new pet treatments become available – but at a cost. While new drugs and procedures prolonging the life of pets is good news, the bad news is the corresponding expense associated with of taking advantage of them without the protection of adequate insurance cover.
“Aquarium is currently focused on European and American markets, but rising vet bills are a global problem and pet parents need affordable insurance to pay for it,” said Aquarium Software’s VP Sales and Marketing, Mark Colonnese. “We have already seen pet parents in China and other parts of Asia struggling with rising vet bills and there is a real opportunity for insurers to write polices to protect them.”
Recent research from the animal wound care market suggests the global sector is expected to grow 6.7 per cent from 2016 to 2021, fuelled by rising demand for pet insurance as expenditure on new treatments rises. While virgin markets offer enormous potential, successful market penetration is not easy. Costs spiralling led to AXA pulling out of the UK market and PetSecure doing likewise in UAE. However, with the right software and insights (one often leads to the other!), pet insurance is a proven business model and can be commercially successful in emerging Asian and Middle Eastern markets, says Aquarium.
“Providing a viable pet insurance offering is not easy,” added Colonnese. “With strong expat communities in Asia and the number of middle-class households with pet ownership soaring, there is however clearly a gap in the market.
Affordable pet insurance requires recognition of the singular challenges and technology has a key role to play in ensuring good service and a profitable business model,” he concluded.
China and India are seeing the fastest expansion in the insurance market, with average growth of above 12% a year forecast between 2012 and 2020. No major insurers in China currently offer pet policies, with only a handful of providers in Hong Kong, while the UAE now has none.