Animal insurance is a big business in North America
MARIA Makara did not hesitate to insure her two new dogs. That is because they are family.
Her previous pet, a Yorkshire terrier, died last year after contracting pancreatitis and Cushing’s disease. Makara ended up paying $4 000 (R44 700) for treatments and tests in the dog’s final years.
Last month she bought health insurance for her two “boys”. For $40 a month, she insures both Jack, a white Chihuahua-poodle mix, or chi-poo, and Colby, a 2kg morkie-poo, a mix of Maltese, Yorkie, and poodle breeds.
“They’re my babies,” Makara said from her office in New York.
Makara is among so-called pet parents fuelling a $600 million industry in North America that is growing at triple the pace of US accident-and-health coverage, drawing investment from companies including Toronto-based Fairfax Financial Holdings and Nationwide Mutual Insurance.
Fairfax, run by value investor Prem Watsa, agreed this year to buy Pethealth, North America’s second-largest pet insurer, for C$100 million (R984m).
The Oakville, Ontario-based firm provides pet pharmaceuticals, microchips for animal identification and insurance that covers everything from behavioural therapy to a reward for the return of a runaway pet.
“It’s a nascent industry and demographically it has legs, especially with the adoption of pets as family members,” Fairfax president Paul Rivett said. – Bloomberg