Pet insurers opt for virtual appointments amid COVID-19 lockdowns, says GlobalData

Due to COVID-19 induced lockdowns, pet insurers are moving towards virtual appointments as face-to-face consultations have been restricted only to emergencies, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Dog owners, in particular, would have welcomed the introduction of on-demand, virtual vet appointments given that they are the most likely to hold pet insurance. According to GlobalData’s 2019 UK Consumer Insurance Survey, around two thirds of dog owners have pet insurance. Lifetime cover is the most common policy type, with 64.2% of respondents indicating that they had this cover in place.

Beatriz Benito, Senior Insurance Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Reassuring policyholders during the pandemic has been a key area of focus for the pet insurers. At a time when obtaining physical vet appointments have been challenging, remote assistance could prove to be a useful way of obtaining convenient, round-the-clock expert care. Policyholders are typically required to download an app to obtain video appointments, enabling them to use this service freely and as often as required.”

Arguably, insurtechs are best equipped to provide support to customers during the pandemic. These tech-savvy companies have largely focused on the digital channel since their inception. Companies like Bought By Many Ltd. and Waggle offered virtual appointments before the COVID-19 crisis.

Benito concludes: “The pandemic is likely to change the way that individuals interact with each other, accelerating the use of digital technologies. The introduction of virtual vet appointments as an additional benefit is bound to improve customer satisfaction among the existing policyholders.

“Furthermore, it offers the potential to incentivize pet owners with no cover to take out pet insurance in the long-term. As such, it is unlikely that insurers that have introduced virtual vet appointments would discontinue the service.”

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