Australians love our pets. According to a 2016 report by Animal Medicines Australia, we have one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world with around 62 per cent of Australian households owning a pet.
Dogs remain the most popular type of pet and the dog population in Australia rose by around 600,000 between 2013 and 2016 with one dog for every five people.
And it seems we’ll spare no expense when it comes to the health of our pets. The report revealed that Australian pet owners spend more than $12.2 billion annually on our furry friends, including $2.2 billion on veterinary services. That’s an increase of 42 per cent since 2013.
The report also identified a mind shift in the way we think about pet healthcare with more pet owners now focused on preventative care rather than simply treating sick pets. Check-ups are now the top ranking reason for vet visits in Australia, with vaccinations coming in second place.
Yet despite the rapidly rising amount of money spent on pet healthcare in Australia, the report identified only a minor increase in the rate of pet insurance. Only 26 per cent of households with dogs and 19 percent of households with cats currently have a pet insurance policy.
The top two reasons among survey respondents for not taking out pet insurance were not seeing the value in it and the high cost of pet insurance.
This presents something of a dilemma for pet insurance companies who are faced with the need to lower policy costs if they are to increase market penetration.
To do so, they’ll need far better data sources that provide accurate insights into exactly how pets across breeds are treated for a range of conditions.
That data has been unavailable – until now. WirelessZoo™ is an animal telemetry system that’s capable of continuously tracking animal vital signs 24/7 in real time. The resulting data will be uploaded into a global database that will offer unprecedented insights into animal health.
And pet insurance companies will be able to access this data to provide better value policies to serve the rapidly expanding pet healthcare market.
For example, a pet insurance company offering an insurance policy for a six-year-old female Labrador can access the WirelessZoo™ global database to assess collected health data on six-year-old female Labradors.
This will allow the insurance company to eliminate the guesswork and provide insurance policies that are linked to the real-world health costs that are specific to the breed, age and gender of the animal.
The result will be a move away from standardised premiums, and towards customised policies and premiums that will offer better value to pet owners – and improve treatment outcomes for our beloved pets.
Alpha Vet Tech is a medical device company offering innovative wireless telemetry solutions for high quality pet healthcare.
For more information on WirelessZoo™, please visit www.wireless-zoo.com