Insurers see ‘strong potential for revival of pet insurance market’

Insurance companies are looking to tap into the steadily growing pet market in India by either reviving existing cover or designing new products to suit consumers.

According to data available on the India International Pet Trade Fair (IIPTF) website, the pet population in India has grown from 70 lakh in 2006 to one crore in 2011. On average, six lakh pets are adopted every year.

The Indian pet market is estimated at more than $800 million, and is expected to register strong double-digit retail value growth in the coming years.

Higher disposable incomes, smaller families, sensitivity to animals, and social-media craze are the key contributors to the rise in pet ownership, studies point out. This, coupled with an increase in awareness about pet health, is driving people to look for pet insurance cover.

A number of public sector insurance companies, including National Insurance Company (NIC) and United India Insurance Company, have pet insurance products, and offer cover against death due to accident or disease, and third-party liability.

However, these products have not been able to make a mark due to the lack of awareness and poor inclination among agents to sell these products, as well as the absence of a proper distribution model, said a senior official at one of the public sector insurance companies. Hence, the number of policies sold and premium collected is very small.