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More pets visited vets during lockdown

More pets headed to vets in lockdown

Data shows pet parents increased routine vet visits and elective procedures in the height of lockdown.

Pet owners have been using the lockdown to focus on the health of their dogs and cats, ensuring routine vet visits are up to date, chronic conditions were monitored, and elective procedures were taking place according to claims data from PetSure, Australia’s largest pet insurance underwriter.

With veterinary surgeries remaining open during the lockdown, PetSure has recorded an increase in the number of claims paid out for vet procedures, reflecting the higher number of vet visits taking place. PetSure is the largest insurer of cats and dogs in Australia. Compared with April 2019, claims volumes in April this year were 16% higher. PetSure paid $17.3 million in benefit reimbursements to customers in April 2020 alone, an increase of 34% from the same time last year.

PetSure CEO, Alexandra Thomas commented, “Anecdotally we know that pets have done well in lockdown thanks to Australians staying home. Now our claims data shows that in the form of increased claims and vet visits: owners were more likely to visit the vet.”

Ms Thomas said, “Pet owners have taken care of chronic health issues, attended to pet wellbeing and acted swiftly on acute issues. Evidence of this is the increase in treatment, claims and pet insurance payments for medical and surgical procedures. One upside of working from home may well be that pet owners are able to care for their pet in their recovery so have opted to act on health issues rather than delay them.”

Claims data from PetSure also found there has been no increase in respiratory claims since the pandemic was declared, and no cases of reported COVID-related illnesses. The latest data found that respiratory claims represented 0.2% of claims in dogs and approximately 0.05% of claims in cats. Compared with this time last year, overall there has been a slight decrease in the total number of claims relating to respiratory infections in dogs and cats.

Ms Thomas added, “We have been monitoring diagnoses relating to respiratory infections such as pneumonia, coughing and fever in both dogs and cats. These conditions have actually decreased slightly.”

According to the claims data the ratio of treatment across standard, specialist and emergency clinics remained consistent during the COVID-19 lockdown. Standard vet practices account for 87% of claims, followed by treatment at specialist referral clinics (11% of claims) and emergency clinic treatment (2% of claims).

Ms Thomas concluded, “During a stressful time for many Australians, one silver lining is that pet owners have had more time with their pets, been able to get them to the vet in increasing numbers and use their pet insurance to help pay for vet treatment.

“Pet insurance exists to help pet owners access quality treatment when it’s needed – these claim statistics suggest pet owners have been able to do exactly that during lockdown.”

Toby's Story

Toby is a 5-year old Schnoodle (lead image), who started vomiting blood at home recently.

His owner Mark Hatherley commented “It was so fortunate that I’ve been working at home in recent weeks as Toby became sick very quickly.”

“I didn’t hesitate to call Vets On Crown in Surry Hills given the extra safety measures they’re taking, who said to bring him in straight away. After some blood tests which confirmed he had pancreatitis and a few hours receiving fluids, I was thankful to be able to bring him home after he received five-star treatment.”

“Being insured provided me with peace of mind for the whole experience. Toby has bounced back quickly, and has already resumed his official position as my little work helper.”

About PetSure

PetSure provides a sense of security to half a million Australian pet owners.
We are three different businesses within one – a global leader in underwriting, claims processing and administration services.

As an insurance underwriting agency we power the pet insurance propositions of more than 30 brands, including some of Australia’s most recognizable and prestigious brands, such as IAG, AAMI, Woolworths, RSPCA, PetBarn, Guide Dogs, Medibank, Bupa and HCF.

As a global leader in pet insurance claims processing services we assess over half a million Australian claims each year and we are retained by leading pet insurers in the United Kingdom and the United States to provide claims processing services.

Administration services is our third business arm: the financial technology solution GapOnlyTM. GapOnlyTM is a paperless claims service whereby a customer can obtain claims approval within minutes, without ever leaving the Veterinary surgery. It transforms the claims experience with reduced out-of-pocket expenses and is progressively rolling-out to Veterinary surgeries and hospitals Australia-wide.

As an underwriter, administrator and fintech company, PetSure is helping to transform the pet healthcare experience of Australian and global pet parents, with a commitment to their lives with their pets.

To find out more about PetSure, please visit

Any advice is general only and has not considered your personal circumstances, so may not be right for you. Cover is subject to the policy terms and conditions. You should consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or policy wording available from the relevant provider to decide if a product is right for you. Insurance products are issued by The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (ABN 78 090 584 473; AFSL 241436) and administered by PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd (ABN 95 075 949 923; AFSL 420183) through our Authorised Representatives and our distribution partners.

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