Pet Insurance in Australia

medibank. – R.S.P.C.A. – H.C.F

These are just three  names of companies or organizations  that we’ve come to accept quite readily for integrity, honesty and service and we’ve come to trust them to do what we call, without question, in Australia; “the right thing” .

Prosure Pet Insurance offered by Provet Pty Ltd (usually your  vetenarians choice)

We love our pets otherwise we wouldn’t have them and we trust our vets implicitly because we need to.

These are just  four of the companies/organizations I’ve selected from many and they ALL have one thing in common when it comes to “Pet Insurance” which they sell and/or promote:

NONE OF THEM HAVE OR PROVIDE PET INSURANCE!

It is all farmed out and underwritten to and by an organization known as The Hollard Insurance Company and administered through an agency known as PetSure (Australia) Pty Ltd.

From what I have learned The Hollard Insurance Co is part of the Hollard group of financial companies founded in South Africa in 1980 and arriving on our shores in 1999. (Note that they are part of a financial service group which indicates to me that they are in it for the money).

The advertising for this groups various insurance companies and policies would seem to indicate that the are a company of long and distinguished standing and history, rivalling only LLoyds of London in the field of insurance.They are not!

They boast of having 6.5 million policy holders worldwide. Six and a half million? Just a wee drop in the bucket!

How, or more to the point, why have I gone into this; well I shall try to explain.

Back towards the end of September my dog, Coco, whose picture graces these pages, along with the War Office and I were exercising on the Roland Reserve at Mona Vale. A delightful spot for our canine friends to run free.

An unfortunate event happened; I was taking a breather on one of the park bench’s and a big brown furry dog came up to say hello to me and he didn’t like it when my Coco objected, and he attacked Coco. As you can see Coco is quite a small dog, I grabbed the large dog by his collar to pull him off and the War Office freed Coco and very distressed picked him up and carried him towards our car.

I had been dragged to the ground and was having great difficulty regaining my feet and was assisted by the BBFD ( big brown furry dog)’s owner, when I regained my balance I started after my wife and Coco. The BBFD owner came after me with our car keys which had fallen from my pocket whilst I was rolling on the ground pulling  her dog off of Coco.

The War Office endeavoured to obtain the name and address from the owner of the BBFD, but she would not give it and departed rapidly from the scene.

It was more urgent for us to take our dog to the vet as he was obviously very distressed, in pain, and bleeding in two spots from where the BBFD had sunk his teeth in, than it was to chase after it’s owner, who probably wanted to avoid any possible claim on her for the damage and injury caused by her dog.

Coco was attended to immediately, the vet gave him an injection to calm him down and prepare him for emergency surgery. We were told to go home and wait as it would be several hours before we could claim him and crestfallen we did as instructed.

A week or so after the operation when Coco was well on the way to a full recovery I lodged the a claim for the cost of the medical services provided by the vet on the appropriate form along with the correct paper work with Medibank Pet Insurance addressed to a ‘Locked Bag‘ in Castle Hill NSW. I understood it would take approximately 10 days to process the claim.

Some 10 – 12 (the 18/10/2012) days later I received a text message on my mobile phone saying the claim had been received and “Please allow 10 days for assessment ” . The original 10 days having expired since they received the claim they now advised me to allow another 10 days.

On Thursday the 8th November I rang Medibank Private Pet Insurance and after going through the normal rigmarole of pushing numbers on the telephone I eventually got to speak to a human being. I was put on hold whilst waiting to be transferred to the Pet Insurance claims section.

Eventually a lady came onto the phone and to my surprise had a distinctive sub-continent accent which one normally associates with India. This lady did assure me that she was in Sydney and would be able to assist me with any query.

She advised me after much discussion that I had not given full information in support of my claim and until such time as I did they were not in a position to make an assessment.

This instantly aroused my suspicions. When making a claim at a Medibank office one takes the medical practitioners account, proof of payment and gets a refund. Simple! No messing about. So why should this be different. I provided the account from the vet, proof of payment so what was the problem? My dog had been attacked and savaged by another dog and required medical treatment. It was not a pre-existing medical condition but an emergency medical procedure.

No! Medibank Pet Insurance needs to know my dogs full medical history from the day he was born!!!

Why, I asked them, do you need to know this when it is quite obviously not a sickness but emergency medical treatment after my dog had been savaged.  By  now it is  appearing obvious to me that Medibank Private Pet Insurance is coming up with the old system with which I am very familiar having spent many years in the insurance industry as a claims specialist. I was however fortunate in working for reputable companies and in particular Lloyds of London.

I was in the enviable position of looking at claims and asking myself “Can I pay this claim under any of the conditions?”. If the answer was yes it was paid; I was never required to look at a claim and ask myself  “How can I get out of paying this claim?”  which is  the first question many insurance claims managers ask in too many insurance companies.

It was then I looked to the fine print at the bottom of the Medibank Private Pet Insurance policy and see that the cover is not provided by the well known and respected Medibank , but by the Hollard Insurance Company’s off shoot ‘PetSure Australia Pty Ltd’.

When I suggested that I call into their office to discuss this claim one on one I was advised that they don’t have an office as such for me to attend. What sort of insurance company or medical benefit provider  does not have an office for personal attention to claims?

It seems  to me that PetSure is one of those insurers who’s first concern is to avoid their obligations. They require information that is irrelevant to a claim, which is indicative to me of an insurer looking for a sure way out of avoiding liability.

If this information or disclosure of the animals full medical history is so important; why is it not asked on the proposal for insurance form, which is the right time to decide whether you wish to insure the animal or not, not suddenly when a claim arises?

Now I do not have Coco’s full medical history since he was born as he only joined our family back in February of this year and was given to me to care for and love in April.      Before then he was in an animal shelter after being rescued from certain death at a pound. All this information was given to the providers so why are they wanting to know this information which I don’t have and can’t get?

They want to deny their responsibility in my opinion and will do and stoop to whatever depths necessary to do so.

3 thoughts on “Pet Insurance in Australia

  1. Thank you Suzzi, I’ m happy you agree. There’s too much of this nonsense going on and the average person (those not savvy regarding the working minds of insurance people) is kept in the dark deliberately and are led to believe that the fault lies with them for not reading the terms conditions and exceptions on an insurance policy properly. However in my case as you can see it was the insurer who failed in their duty by not ensuring that the information they are now requesting should have been asked at the time the proposal was made.

    Another thing that’s irks and annoys me; they are turning a simple medical benefit scheme into a complex insurance policy with more exclusions than inclusions and not divulging this to their clients.

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