Mongrels may still be subsidising pedigree premiums, says Aquarium

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Aquarium Software, the leading pet insurance technology integrator, warns that pet insurance premiums for specific pedigree breeds could increase in the future, as insurance providers become savvier about the financial risks associated with insuring designer pets.

Aquarium Software Sales and Marketing Director, Mark Colonnese

It’s by no means certain that all insurers are pricing premiums for pedigree pets in the same way. We suspect that vets’ data about particular breeds is not being stored and shared with consumers.

Aquarium Software, the leading pet insurance technology integrator, has warned that pet insurance premiums for specific pedigree breeds, including pugs, shih tzus and French bulldogs could increase in the future, as insurance providers become savvier about the financial risks associated with insuring designer pets. Responding to a recent media article and with vets calling for a reform of breeding standards of brachycephalic breeds due to the increased risk of illness and disease, Aquarium has called for the development of a centralised database to recognise the different risks of insuring different breeds – for the sake of both consumers and insurers.

Aquarium Software’s Sales and Marketing Director, Mark Colonnese, said: “Without the development of an integrated central pet data warehouse, pet insurance premiums will not be underpinned by sound analytics based on actual risk. This is a double edged sword; pedigree pet parents may not currently be paying enough, while thousands of non-pedigree owners may in fact still be subsidising pedigree premiums.”

The risk of serious, inherent health problems developing in pedigree breeds is significant, due to years of over-breeding that has created specific characteristics including breathing difficulties, skin conditions, joint disorders and eye diseases. Though pedigree pets are more expensive to insure, there is a lack of differentiation between different pedigree breeds. Instead premiums are typically calculated by the pet’s age, postcode and its microchipping status. Currently, these costings appear to be fairly arbitrary, based on claims experience, rather than on quantitative, reliable, shared data about specific breeds and the veterinary fees to treat inherent conditions. More unified and intelligent technology platforms will lead to improved MI (management information), which will allow insurance premiums to be based on more precise evidence-based risk assessment.

“It’s by no means certain that all insurers are pricing premiums for pedigree pets in the same way,” added Colonnese. “We suspect that vets’ data about particular breeds is not being stored and shared with consumers. We should be looking towards premiums based on actual risk; this will make premiums for pet insurance more competitive and bring more consumers into the marketplace.

“Clearly this is in the interest of both insurers, who grow the overall size of the market and consumers, who get a better value product.”

Aquarium is therefore calling for a collaborative approach with a national pet database where information is shared across all agencies, insurers, vets and pet parents. With smart data, pet parents and insurers alike can then access all the facts upon which premiums should be priced.

“Smart data has been touted as a solution to fraud and as a means to improve pet health and cut premiums but for it to work, the industry needs the smart data design and management to go with it. Specialist software platforms can allow such data to be shared between not only agencies, but customers, too. People may choose to buy different breeds in the future if they had the full facts about the risk of buying a particular breed. The insurer can deliver that all important customer journey while the pet parents will be paying a fairer price and with it end the days of inaccurate and unfair premiums,” concluded Colonnese.

Aquarium Software is currently being implemented by a number of key pet insurers, and affinity partners in the UK, Europe, USA and Canada. For further information contact Aquarium Software on +44 (0)161 927 5620 or visit http://www.aquarium-software.com

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Jon Gardner
BeyondPR
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