Demand for pet insurance on the rise in Korea

As the population ages and families become smaller, pets are being treated more and more as family members

Demand for pet insurance on the rise in Korea

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

As the number of pet owners in South Korea rises, so does the demand for insurance and other financial products for the benefit of people’s furry friends.
According to NongHyup Economic Research Institute, the pet industry in South Korea, which includes food, toys, and other supplies, is worth more than KRW2 trillion (US$1.76 billion), and is expected to grow to almost KRW6 billion by 2020.
Meanwhile, KB Financial Group’s research division theorizes that as family sizes become smaller and the population ages, people are beginning to rely on animals as companions and consider pets as part of the family.

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“With more people considering pets as their family member, consumer demand to alleviate burdens stemming from pets’ medical bills will expand,” Hwang Won-kyung, a researcher at KB Financial Group told JoongAng Daily. “Financial companies must take pre-emptive measures and create related products [to meet the demand].”
Pet insurance, which was first introduced in the early 2000s, had dwindled in popularity but is now gaining ground. In one such example, Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance’s Familiaris Dog Insurance policy experienced a surge in subscriptions, from 41 in 2008 to 1,116 as of last year.
Pet healthcare costs can take quite a toll on the wallet, as in the case of a 13-year-old dog with diabetes, whose medication and other health expenses could reach KRW700,000 (US$620) a month.

Aside from insurance, there also are pet trust funds, such as KB Pet Trust by KB Kookmin Bank, where an owner can save up to KRW10 million which will be awarded to a designated guardian to pay for the pet’s care in case the owner passes away.

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