Guardian General pioneers pet insurance
Sheraley Bridgeman, vice- -president of customer experience and marketing at Guardian General Insurance

The life, health and well-being of domestic animals, particularly cats and dogs, can now benefit from insurance protection following the roll-out of Guardian General Insurance Limited's Pet Guard policy in the local market.

Introduced during the last quarter of 2022, Pet Guard offered as a rider or policy provision can be purchased under an existing Guardian General home/content or motor vehicle policy. Also referred to as an insurance endorsement, riders are addenda to an insurance policy often providing added coverage and/or increased benefits.

With premiums starting at $2000 up to $9000 per annum, pets can receive insurance coverage limits spanning $20,000-$100,000, which the provider said can be useful in lessening some of the overall costs associated with caring for pets especially during times of illness and when faced with theft, injury and sudden or accidental death of the animal.

"While the product as a rider will not cover everything — what it helps to cover are some expenses concerning veterinary bills and burial expenses in cases where the animal dies. The coverage offered will also help to replace pets that have died or have been lost or stolen. It also provides animal daycare services in cases where pets end up in hospital or where the owner is not able to care for them," said Sheraley Bridgeman, vice-president of customer experience and marketing at Guardian General, during an interview with the Jamaica Observer earlier this week.

The policy crafted after discovering a gap in the local market, Bridgeman believes will go a far way in enabling pet owners with a greater capacity to better care for their animals whilst catering to burgeoning medical and other financial needs.

Popular in more developed countries such as the US, pet insurance helps to reduce high veterinary and other medical costs, offering coverage for mainly cats and dogs. Similar to a health insurance coverage for humans, pet insurance policies usually offers partial or full coverage of the medical expenses related to pets, especially when they are faced with some of the most chronic illnesses including cancers and other ailments.

Globally, the pet insurance market, valued at over US$6 billion in 2018, is projected to reach as much as US$16 billion by 2030 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of near 17 per cent.

According to international research analytics firm Fortune Business Insights, "the market is anticipated to further witness significant growth across the forecast period, largely owing to the increasing adoption rate of pets across the globe." Aside from this, a growing pet population, the increased adoption of pet insurance in underpenetrated markets, rising cost for veterinary care and the 'humanisation' of pets are also cited among other key reasons that will be responsible for driving growth in the market.

Speaking on the progress of the policy since its over three months launch locally, Bridgeman described the take-up rate to date as being steady but growing.

"Since our roll-out last year, what we have been getting is a lot of inquiries; however, we see where uptake of the service has been increasing and we expect this to continue further over the course of the year," she added.

"What we therefore want for all pet lovers islandwide to know is that Guardian General now has this offer through which they can secure coverage for their animals. Currently, we are in the process of partnering with all the pet stores and veterinarians right across the island as we move to sensitise the public and onboard more clients from our target audience," she told the Business Observer.

Sheraley Bridgeman, vice- -president of customer experience and marketing at Guardian General Insurance
Guardian's Pet Guard covers domestic cats and dogs for premiums starting at $2000 up to $9000 per annum
Kellaray Miles

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