UK pet insurance breaks the billion pound barrier
The pet insurance industry in the UK has finally broken the billion pound mark, with gross written premiums up 7.1 per cent in 2016. Pet insurance technology specialist Aquarium Software says while the figures are testament to the industry’s efforts in recent years, the two per cent jump in product penetration that delivered the figures is not as high as some expected, given the growth in the pet market.
Aquarium warns the sector risks hard-won gains if premiums are raised ten per cent this year, and argues that technology is delivering savings when consumer confidence remains so fragile. With inflation at 2.9 per cent; interest rates already raised a fraction and set on an upward course; and the 22 November budget just around the corner, the pet insurance sector is unlikely to prove immune from stormy trade winds predicted ahead.
“Everyone connected with pet insurance will welcome these latest figures released, but we can’t be complacent and more must be done to keep the market on an upward trajectory,” said Mark Colonnese, Director at Aquarium Software. “The spectre of reduced customer satisfaction is cited as a reason for the lower than expected figures, and our mission as technologists is to deliver customer journey enhancing platforms and products, proven effective in assisting insurers streamline business processes and ultimately reduce premiums,” he added.
There is undoubtedly still a major untapped pet insurance market out there and many commentators believe the industry must still do more to encourage greater take-up, particularly as inflation continues to outpace wages and consumers have less and less disposable income to spend. The 42 per cent of owners who have never had pet insurance (according to YouGov research commissioned by Aquarium Software), means two fifths of pet parents remain to be convinced of its value. “Current market drivers are as challenging as the future is exciting,” said Colonnese. “Smart technology can keep reducing insurer costs over the medium to long-term, so the pet insurance sector should concentrate on adding value and try to resist any knee-jerk premium increases in response to shorter-term economic factors,” Colonnese concluded.