SCPI issues pet ownership tips for insurance clients

A majority of New Zealanders are now pet owners, report said

SCPI issues pet ownership tips for insurance clients

Insurance News

By Roxanne Libatique

Southern Cross Pet Insurance (SCPI), which processed over $29.9 million in claims for the year ending June 30, 2023, provides essential information for brokers and other insurance professionals advising clients considering pet ownership.

The Southern Cross Healthy Futures Report indicated that 61% of New Zealanders are now pet owners, a 7% increase since 2020, suggesting a continuing upward trend.

Benefits of having a pet

SCPI sales manager and former vet nurse Kerri Murray stressed the importance of understanding the commitments involved in pet ownership.

“We know humans benefit from welcoming a pet into their homes (in fact, [95%] of us say it improves their mental health and wellbeing), but it’s absolutely essential to understand the responsibilities and commitments involved. Much like bringing a new (human) baby home, we encourage prospective pet owners to educate themselves about the responsibilities and commitments involved,” she said. “By taking the time to research, plan, and prepare, prospective pet owners can provide a loving and stable environment for their new companion. It’s important your new pet is set up for success so you can enjoy the multiple benefits that come from your new family member.”

Key considerations when taking home a pet

SCPI said brokers and other insurance professionals should be aware of several key considerations when helping clients make informed decisions about pet ownership:

Research breeds and species

Encourage clients to research different breeds and species to find a suitable match for their family, lifestyle, and living situation. Factors such as breed size, temperament, activity level, grooming needs, and compatibility with children or other pets are crucial.

For example, a Labrador requires a large, grassy yard, while a Bichon Frise might need less space. Larger cats need more room, and those with thick coats require more grooming, according to SCPI.

The insurer also recently published its claims data that outlined the top insured breeds of 2023, with Labradors, cavoodles, and golden retrievers being the most frequently insured dogs. Cats such as domestic short hair, ragdoll, and domestic medium hair also made it in the top 10 list.

Evaluate lifestyle

Clients should assess their daily routines, work schedules, and living arrangements to determine if they can meet a pet’s needs. Pets require attention, exercise, training, and companionship, making it important to ensure their lifestyle can accommodate these demands.

Understand local regulations

Clients need to be aware of local council bylaws, including limits on the number of dogs and requirements for registration and microchipping. Different public spaces have specific rules for exercising dogs.

While there are generally no limits on cats, ensuring they have a safe space to play and toilet is important.

Financial responsibilities

Inform clients about the financial aspects of pet ownership, including initial adoption or purchase costs, ongoing veterinary care, food, grooming, supplies, training, and potential medical expenses. Budgeting for these expenses is crucial for long-term pet care.

Veterinary care

Advise clients to schedule regular wellness checks and vaccinations with a veterinarian to maintain their pet’s health and prevent illnesses. Establishing a relationship with a trusted veterinarian is important for ongoing medical care.

Pet insurance benefits

Highlight the advantages of pet insurance in mitigating veterinary care costs in case of accidents, illnesses, or emergencies. Pet insurance provides financial peace of mind and ensures pets receive necessary medical treatment.

Long-term commitment

Clients should consider potential changes in their life circumstances, such as moving, starting a family, or changes in employment, and how these may impact their ability to care for a pet over time.

Training and socialisation 

Emphasise the importance of proper training and socialisation for pets.

Puppy training classes, obedience training for dogs, and early socialisation with people and other animals are essential for a well-adjusted pet.

Pet-proofing of the home and garden

Encourage clients to prepare their home for a new pet by pet-proofing their living space and removing potential hazards. Securing cabinets, electrical cords, toxic plants, and small objects that could be harmful if ingested is essential for a pet’s safety.

For more detailed information and resources, insurance professionals can refer clients to SCPI’s tips and advice available on its website. This guidance can help clients make informed decisions about pet ownership and ensure a positive experience for both the pet and owner.

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