Insurance Business Pet insurance complexities could drive brokers barking mad

Pet insurance complexities could drive brokers barking mad Pet insurance is something that on the surface sounds so simple… but in reality has a myriad of complexities, making it vital for brokers who are selling the product to keep abreast of new developments in the sector.

One such example occurred recently with the city of Toronto’s decision to ban choke collars or slip collars for dogs, causing uproar among the many dog walkers of Toronto who fancy their pets as fashionistas. As for pet coverage, the new rule won’t change things unless there’s evidence of the collars causing direct harm, according to Petline Insurance’s divisional vice president, Rod Cunniam.

“This risk factor does not impact the eligibility to purchase a policy, or the rated premium the owner would pay,” he explained. “However, for coverage purposes, if an injury or trauma occurred due to the device, it would specifically have to be documented in the pet’s medical history that they were wearing a device (choke collar) that is prohibited due to a federal, provincial or municipal law relating to pets.”

On the more personal side, owners can end up using their co-owned pets as pawns in disagreements – another area in which insurance can play an indirect role.

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Recently, a Halifax woman took two dogs all the way to Alberta in late March that she had shared with her now-ex-boyfriend. A small claims court ruled she had to return the dogs because the ex-boyfriend bought them originally – however, what about the trauma for the dog moving from home to home?

“Any expenses incurred by a policyholder for treating an accident or illness intentionally caused by a policyholder, would not be eligible for coverage. If both co-owners are listed as policyholders, the policy would not respond for intentional injuries or traumas,” Cunniam said.

An Economical brand, Petline Insurance is attempting to cover more pets by giving automatic coverage to adoptees.

“Petline has had a partnership with the Nova Scotia SPCA since 2010 through our Adoptsecure program (offered by Petsecure),” Cunniam noted. “This program provides new pet guardians with a complimentary policy of pet health insurance. This introduces them to the importance of taking care of their pet’s health, and the benefits that pet health insurance offers.

“As well, Elizabeth Murphy, CEO of the Nova Scotia SPCA, and ourselves, held forums discussing how to reach more pet owners on the benefits of pet health insurance. Approximately just 2% of all dogs and cats are insured in Canada, with Petline being the biggest pet insurance provider with 50+% of the market share. The new product is a solution that leverages the unique strengths of Nova Scotia SPCA and insurance. We cooperatively build customer value in pet insurance, offering coverage for unexpected accidents and illness.”

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