Kim Min-hyeong, a 39-year-old Rottweiler owner, recently paid 1.8 million won ($1,460) for the dog’s toe surgery.
However, Kim received 1.3 million won from his insurance thanks to a plan he made two years ago.
With the number of pet owners in Korea increasing, the demand for pet insurance has increased.
About 61,000 pet insurance companies signed up as of the end of September, according to Korea Credit Information Services, up 2,100 percent compared to 2017. Pet owners paid 21.7 billion won for insurance last year. eat
About 15 million Koreans own pets, nearly a quarter of the entire population. They spend 120,000 won on their pets per month, of which 42,500 won goes to medical bills.
Older pets are a big reason for these costs. By the end of 2021, 41 percent of pets in Korea will be nine years old or older. The average lifespan of a dog is between 10 and 13 years and a cat is 15 years, although there is variation in breed and size.
The average monthly hospital bill rises to 941,000 won for pets between 10 and 14 years old.
“The latest trends in the pet insurance industry are long-term insurance plans and online sales,” said Shim Jun-won, CEO of Petfins, a local pet insurance company.
“This means that the market competition has started with intensity”.
Despite the rapid growth of the market, Korea has a long way to go.
Pets are insured for less than 1 percent of the total.
Experts argue that there are still some ongoing issues that should be discussed for the pet insurance market to grow further. The high cost of insurance is said to be the biggest problem.
“I was thinking of changing my insurance since the premiums keep increasing,” said Jeong, 61, who owns an eight-year-old Welsh Corgi.
He paid 51,620 won a month for insurance the first year he brought it. It rose to 70,700 won after a series of updates.
“My dog is outgoing but suffers from arthritis because of his short legs,” Jeong said. “I can’t stop the insurance because it’s the only thing that covers arthritis.”
About 22.3 percent of pet owners cited “cost concerns,” as the main reason why they refuse to get insurance, according to a survey by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Countryside over 4,100 pet owners. Eighty-eight percent said the country had “no difference in planning.”
Limited coverage and lack of information are other major problems.
“I felt like I was missing important information when I first took out insurance for my cat,” said Cho, who owns a Koshot, short for the Korean shorthair cat.
Cho visited various pet stores and shows to find the best products last year, but they all seem to be the same.
Some say it’s important to establish a routine for pet medical treatment. Imposing disease laws, like the use of public health insurance, is seen as a way to stabilize costs.
For example, patella luxation is a common problem for dogs or cats. However, veterinarians have their own way of defining the knee, so they charge different rates.
“Comparing medical bills will be possible when a standard is established,” said Kim Kyung-seon, a researcher at the Korea Insurance Research Institute.
“It is necessary to reform the Law of Veterinarians in order to standardize the fees and provide authorized medical reports,” said Kim.
Anycom, the largest pet insurance company in Japan, has signed an agreement with more than 6,000 local vets so that they can use the policy for their customers.
Pet registration is emerging as another solution. It is considered a key tool to activate the pet insurance market and prevent any insurance fraud cases.
“Germany requires all pet owners to register their pets, take out insurance and take full responsibility if their pets get hurt,” said Petfins CEO Shim.
“The implantation of microchips will be an option for registration.”
President Yoon Suk Yeol chose the promotion of pet insurance as one of his 110 key projects last year.
The size of the pet market, which was about 2.65 trillion won in 2018, will double to 4.2 trillion won in 2022. It is expected to exceed 6 trillion won in 2027, according to the Korea Securities Depository.
BY SHIN SU-MIN, SARAH CHEA (email@example.com)