June 16, 2017

2015 saw the UK pet insurance market continue to grow, with gross written premiums (GWP) increasing by 6.3% from £853m in 2014 to £910m in 2015. Medical inflation remains the underlying factor driving GWP, with the quality of medical treatments and veterinary procedures influencing cost greatly and sparking inflationary pressure. Product penetration has also grown, with the number of policy subscribers continuing its upward trend from 2012 to reach 3.4 million – an increase of 8.7% from 2014. The market has been battling to increase product take-up and is vying to maintain distribution output by increasing the availability of policies on direct propositions and price comparison sites. Aggregators still serve the pet space, but while many of the smaller providers continue to place more of their business onto these platforms, the major players are still refraining from using price comparison sites as a means of product distribution – with good reason.


  • Medical costs and pet care continue to influence the cost of claims significantly, and as a result encourage insurers to raise the price of their premiums.
  • The pet insurance market is expected to break the £1bn mark for the first time in 2016 as insurers continue to battle rising costs.
  • Pet insurance is not well served on price comparison sites and is not typically viewed by customers as a “commodity” – more care and attention is required before purchasing.
  • Much of the available data with regards to the UK pet population and pet ownership suggests dogs now lead the way over cats, after the roles were reversed in 2014.

Content of the Report

  • Executive Summary
  • Key findings
  • Critical success factors
  • The Pet Insurance Market
  • UK pet insurance continues to grow, but claims are having a damaging effect
  • Claims inflation continues to challenge GWP growth in the pet space
  • Pet insurance GWP grew 6.7% to £910.1m in 2015
  • Advances in medical treatments continue to drive claims costs
  • Insurer losses in the pet insurance market increased significantly in 2015
  • The UK pet population has fallen from 2014
  • Dog ownership is now higher than cat ownership
  • Compulsory micro chipping is shaping the way owners track and monitor their dogs
  • Northern Ireland has the highest dog count in the UK at over one third of the population
  • Pet insurance take-up increased significantly from 2014
  • Take-up was spurred by the need to avoid heavy vet bills and access better treatment
  • Customers are leaning more towards lifetime policies
  • Economic conditions and dynamics of the market
  • Costly vet treatments are encouraging insurers to take control of the market
  • RSA aims to manage the cost of pet insurance with the launch of a new scheme
  • Insurers must work closer with vet practices to have better control of costs
  • Pricing needs to be more transparent for pet insurance customers
  • The corporatization of the pet space and a lack of skills are contributing to price increases
  • Pet insurance is seen as a low-ticket item but does not fit the aggregator mold
  • Price comparison sites fail to serve the pet space as they do other personal lines
  • Lifetime policies are the main attraction for customers
  • Co-insurance is coming back into fashion and is set to become a mainstream product
  • Developments in 2016 and Beyond
  • Claims inflation will continue to drive rates over the coming years
  • The UK pet space is forecast to top £1bn within the next three years
  • Insurers need to simplify their products, with Bought By Many leading by example
  • Social media continues to provide a good route for providers to target the uninsured
  • Appendix
  • Abbreviations and acronyms
  • Definitions
  • Gross premium
  • Premium income gross of reinsurance premium ceded.
  • Gross loss ratio
  • Written premiums
  • Methodology
  • Primary and secondary research
  • Verdict Financial’s 2015 General Insurance Consumer Survey
  • Bibliography
  • Further reading
  • About Verdict Financial
  • Disclaimer


Key benefits of buying this profile include:

  • Benchmark yourself against the rest of the market. Ensure you remain competitive as new innovations and significant market developments occur.
  • Be informed of how insurers are faring amid the increasing cost of claims in the face of developments in pet care and advancing medical treatments.

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