Policyholders have shattered previous records in the amount they received from their claims in 2018.
Pet insurance payouts in the United Kingdom struck record levels in 2018 when they broke the £785 million mark. The figure rose to this level despite the fact that the number of claims filed by policyholders actually fell, said the Association of British Insurers (A.B.I.).
The industry trade body pointed to a rising cost of complex veterinary care to explain the payment size.
The A.B.I. underscored the increasing cost associated with sophisticated medical care to explain the record breaking pet insurance payouts. On average, claim payouts rose by £36 from 2017 to 2018. This represents an increase of 5 percent to reach £793. The “overwhelming majority” of payments sent to pet insurance policyholders were to meet treatment bills for veterinary care.
Less commonly, pet owners filed claims on their policies requesting reimbursement for the costs associated with a lost or stolen pet. They requested payment for the cost of a stolen animal, the price they paid to find a pet that was lost, or to cover liability costs when a pet was responsible for injuring someone or damaging property.
Still, according to the A.B.I. these less frequent claims were “tiny” in comparison with the size of the bills for veterinary treatment.
The cost of animal medical care has skyrocketed pet insurance payouts from the sophistication of treatments.
“There is no NHS for animals, so if you’ve not got a pet policy in place, you risk having to foot veterinary bills out of your own pocket,” said Joe Ahern, senior policy advisor for pet insurance, in a BBC report. “These can often be in the thousands of pounds and vet treatment is only getting more expensive, not less.”
Despite the rising claims payments, pet insurance companies receive a lower number of claims in 2018 than they did in 2017. In 2017, policyholders filed 1.02 million claims. That said, the number dropped substantially to 990,000 as the total for 2018
In the United Kingdom, total pet insurance payouts are much greater than they are in the United States as it is far more common for British owners to purchase policies for their furry friends than their American counterparts. In the U.K., almost 4.3 million pets had insurance coverage in 2018. This figure rose by 50,000 over what it had been in 2017.