In a recent interview with Insurance Times, Mark Colonnese, our Product Marketing Director highlighted the growth opportunities in the pet insurance market. He drew attention to how the latest data intelligence technologies can deliver benefits to insurers and consumers, including in the ‘sticky’ area of insurance policies for pets with pre-existing conditions.
Different breeds of dog are pre-disposed to certain illnesses or chronic conditions that can result in hefty insurance premiums. While bulldog breeds are more likely to suffer from respiratory conditions, beagles have the propensity to be overweight and dachshunds have a tendency towards back problems.
Insurance Times highlights a major source of complaints about pet insurance is related to claims and lack of cover for pre-existing conditions. Too often, switching insurer is not a viable option for pet owners who have pets with existing medical conditions as they are excluded from insurance cover and are subject to increasing annual premiums.
The Pet Insurance Survey 2020, commissioned by Scratch & Patch highlighted 53 percent of the pet owners surveyed felt trapped in their current pet insurance policy because of medical conditions. This survey also found that overall 22 percent of pets have pre-existing conditions, but 76 percent of these are not insured. 10 percent of people were not aware whether these conditions were even covered.
Rather than a model based on annual premiums, some insurers are taking a different approach to pet insurance cover. This involves lifetime cover for a pet, with a guarantee that a premium will not increase as the pet ages, needs medical treatment, or develops ailments.
Although the initial payments might seem expensive, this long-term view means that insurance gives a better deal over a pet’s lifetime. Lifetime insurance is carefully assessed with complex scientific analysis using artificial intelligence and machine learning models. These analyse the level of risk for each pet against a wide set of criteria to ensure that premiums are accurate and fairly priced.
This can be a more transparent form of insurance and mitigates the price shocks around pre-existing conditions experienced by so many pet owners. No matter what the approach, a key benefit of advanced data intelligence is that it will present consumers with more choice and flexibility when insuring their pet. Lifetime insurance provides predictability for pet owners and enables aspiring owners to plan out the costs of keeping a pet before they commit to this lifetime responsibility.