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The Evolution of Pet Insurance


Jade Poole from I write words

The Evolution of Pet Insurance

Have you ever been curious about how we eventually landed the wonder that is pet insurance? Well, wonder no more. We look at the origin of pet insurance.

As my luck would have it, September is considered Pet Health Insurance month, meaning that there is no greater time to delve into the wondrous evolution of pet insurance. Because contrary to popular belief, it hasn’t always been around, and it definitely wasn’t always as holistic and comprehensive as it is now.

A blast from the past

Did you know that pet health insurance is over 100 years old? In fact, the very first pet policy was written in 1890 by Claes Virgin, the founder of Länsförsäkrings Alliance, a Swedish insurance company that is still around today.

Interestingly enough these original policies extended to include a wide variety of animals including horses and livestock. By 1947, the first pet insurance policy was sold in Britain and later the rest of the world.

The reason for this mini-history lesson is to direct your attention to the fact that even centuries ago, individuals still looked to protect their animals. Owning an animal was seen as an asset and a privilege and something worth investing in.

The thinking behind pet insurance

The concept of owning animals has evolved over time. We have seen them exist as a means of financial assets or companionship over the years. Regardless of whichever title these animals fell under, the premise remained the same: they are to be protected in a way that does not break the bank.

The thinking here was that while we can actively take care of our animals ourselves (think cleaning, feeding and exercise) these efforts can be improved tenfold. Providing our animals with holistic care oftentimes requires a more hands-on approach, which means getting a third party involved.

This was especially evident when animals and livestock would get sick on the farms and would require the specialized knowledge and medical help of an accredited vet.

Gaining access to these facilities didn’t have to be for the rich or those who were able to take out loans. The need for easy access to medical help became more pressing. 

A new branch of insurance is born

For centuries now veterinarian practices have been significantly difficult to access. Not only have they been noticeably costly, but continuously increasing in price over the years.

During the initial stages of pet insurance, the high costs of pet care were based on the fact that there weren’t a plethora of vets available. So naturally, with a high demand for their services, and a low supply, the prices skyrocketed.

When we look at pet insurance today, it is clear that the high price of pet healthcare facilities is based on knowledge. Given the natural speed at which today’s medical data and insights are increasing, it is expected that the prices would increase simultaneously.

Both of the above scenarios prove that at no time in history has exceptional veterinarian knowledge … until the new branch of insurance, one where animals were included, came around.

A worthy start

By broadening insurance to include a number of pets, from livestock to household pets, the barriers to entry had been removed. Now, animal lovers across the globe could prioritize the health and wellbeing of their companions and four-legged additions.

Essentially, the core premise throughout the centuries has remained the same: It doesn’t matter that we went from using animals as a bartering piece to seeing them as companions, the truth remains that our lives would be nothing without these animals.

And so pet insurance hit the market.

The creation of pet insurance definitely looked particularly different to the policy offerings that we see today. For starters, the policies on offer during its early stages were very few. In fact, the idea was pretty simple: you would pay the vet, claim back and you would be reimbursed after paying a small monthly fee. Pet insurance during this time was not built on establishing a holistic approach to pet health care.

Instead, the aim was to cover the absolute essentials, which was undoubtedly the exorbitant costs of veterinarians. Elements like preventative care strategies were not included as they weren’t seen as pressing during these times.

Holistic care

When comparing pet insurance now to back when it was initially introduced, it’s clear that these policies are all about comprehensive care. Providing access to exceptional vet facilities is only the very beginning of these offerings. Instead of addressing issues once they have occurred, preventative care seems to lead the show.

Pet insurance now includes the following additional perks and/or add-ons to ensure effective pet care:

  1. Dental
  2. Wellness cover
  3. Routine Care
  4. Vaccinations and shots

All of these elements have been established to ensure that your pet’s day-to-day wellbeing and health are catered to at all times. Not only does your pet deserve to be loved and appreciated with the help of pet insurance, but you deserve comfort and peace of mind. Both of which will be granted to you once you sign on the dotted line.

Pet insurance has come a long way to become what it is today. It is full-fledged, an absolute necessity and one of the fastest-growing industries at the moment.

The only question that remains is: Are you ready to be a part of history?


Until next time,

The Pet Insurance Team

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