Pension Business Risk Warning, Pet Trade News & Events from Pet Business World UK
An insurance expert fears pet boarding companies may be put at risk at a critical juncture in the pandemic due to reduced insurance coverage.
Mark Briggs, insurance broker for animal-related businesses Cliverton, warned that catteries and kennels were cutting insurance coverage after the industry was “brought to the brink” by the pandemic and experienced recovery slower than expected.
According to data from Cliverton, in the first quarter of 2021, volumes for breeding and cattery policies fell by more than eight percent, but the gross written premium (GWP) – the total premium – fell by nearly a quarter (23%), indicating that those who renewed their policies renewed at lower levels of coverage.
Evidence suggests that the decline in policy volume and level of coverage was due to policyholders closing or selling their businesses, or because they experienced weaker than expected demand as restrictions worsened. are relaxed.
Mark said: âThe boarding industry has seen an uphill battle through the covid-19 pandemic, with business stopping due to stay-at-home orders and travel bans.
âThe pandemic brought the industry to the brink of collapse and while the rollout of the vaccination program offered hope for a return to normal, policy growth in May was slower than expected.
âThe recovery is not what was hoped for, prolonging the plight of boarding companies, but we are on the precipice of increased demand, which means the industry is facing a perfect storm. . Fewer businesses will operate, but demand is expected to increase due to the ‘pandemic puppy boom’.
âOver the next few months, as travel restrictions ease and the summer vacation season begins, more pet owners will travel nationally and internationally – and their pets will be again entrusted to the care of catteries and kennels.
âIt’s understandable that animal-related businesses are cutting costs, but that shouldn’t mean cutting corners. Businesses need to be able to start up as soon as business picks up – and having the right level of coverage and managing risk effectively is imperative if businesses are to not only survive but thrive after the pandemic.
A campaign – called Save Our Catteries and Kennels (SOCKS) – was launched in response to pressures felt by the industry during a lockdown.
Campaigners called for better government support, saying the grants and initiatives earmarked to protect and support people in the travel, tourism and hospitality sectors were not being given to the boarding school sector, causing significant financial stress and threat of closure for many.
The campaign group, which called for recognition that their service was vital and dependent on travel – and subsequently severely affected by holiday bans, petitioned for their plight to be heard and debated at the Communal room. The petition has collected nearly 30,000 signatures.
Mark said: âEstablished and reputable companies have shrunk under the weight of financial difficulties, leaving the door open for unsuitable and unscrupulous companies to take advantage.
âThe expected wave of demand for boarding services may mean pet owners resort to substandard, unregulated – and even dangerous solutions.
âIt is therefore essential that companies take the necessary steps now to distinguish their business from companies that are simply profiting from the puppy boom.
âSome of the ways that businesses can do this are by highlighting their credentials, qualifications, experience, licenses, and insurance on the company’s website, social media, and marketing materials.
âSeeking customer reviews and testimonials, and launching programs such as referral of a friend, are also credible ways of retaining and attracting new customers and demonstrating a commitment to pets rather than the pet. profit. ”