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人们越来越喜爱宠物 保险公司笑了

其他国际资讯

人们越来越喜爱宠物 保险公司笑了

除了欢迎我们回家、给我们陪伴,宠物还可能成为保险公司的稳定收入来源。

毫无疑问,狗、猫和其他宠物已经成为零售商销售额的稳健来源。2017年亚马逊宠物食品销售额达14亿美元,同比增长38%。而且这还不包括发声玩具或搞怪的小号宠物服装等其他宠物产品。上一季度电商宠物用品相关数据显示,在线购买宠物产品的成年人比例自2015年以来增长了至少45%。宠物商业杂志Pet Business报道称,"根据第三方数据,亚马逊预测2018年在线宠物产品销售额将达到82亿美元。"美国宠物用品协会表示,美国消费者在宠物身上的总消费额超过700亿美元。

宠物保险市场

虽然宠物保险行业刚刚起步,已有不少公司正在把关注点转向这一行业。 Veterinarian's Money Digest刊物援引2018年北美宠物健康保险状况行业报告称,2017年北美至少有200万只宠物投保,同比增长17%。2017年底,宠物保险业的承保保费超过10亿美元,同比增长15%。2017年狗的平均意外险和疾病险保费为535美元(44.58美元/月),猫的保费335.19美元(27.93美元/月)。

新闻报道追溯,1981年出现了第一项宠物保险政策,兽医学博士Jack Stephens "召集了900多名兽医,共同创建了第一家宠物健康保险公司。"同比显著增长显示,宠物健康保险行业正在蓬勃发展。购买宠物保险后,宠物生病或发生意外的情况下,宠物主人需要支付医疗费用时将获得赔偿,而不会因为经济压力选择安乐死。

尽管如此,宠物保险政策仅覆盖了一小部分家养宠物动物。全美宠物狗数量超过6900万只,宠物猫数量超过7400万只。但平均数字显示,狗主人每年带狗去看兽医的次数仅为2.6次,犬类医疗费用开支为每动物227美元。

市场潜力

宠物发生意外,会大大提高主人的兽医费用,宠物主人在急诊时花掉成千上万美元,这样的故事俯拾皆是。

目前约有十几家公司涉足市场,提供宠物保险。约5000名企业有望成为提供宠物保险福利的先行者,这将极大地改变市场面貌。美国最大的宠物保险公司Nationwide首席兽医官Carol McConnell博士向《纽约时报》透露,"如果企业首先仔细检查了这种保险,人们就会觉得可信度大大提高。"

宠物保险公司仍在努力盈利,并吸引更多投资者,但迹象正在转好。以行业领先者Trupanion为例。美国全国广播公司财经频道(CNBC)报道称,"尽管宠物业务不断增长,宠物保险公司仍在努力扭亏为盈。过去六年里,Trupanion收入连年增长,从2012年的5550万美元增加到2017年的2.427亿美元,同期投保宠物数量翻了两番。"

千禧一代的需求

消费者在宠物健康方面花费更多,保险兴趣也就更浓厚。CNBC报道援引TD Ameritrade的一项研究称,"千禧一代"(1982-2000出生)已经成为宠物主人的主流,对宠物医疗保健的关注多于对自身健康的关注,因此也具有更强的消费意愿。"医疗保健是宠物行业防御性最强的细分市场。宠物主人可能会在经济衰退期间改喂普通狗粮,但是如果狗生病了,他们一定会带着狗去看兽医。"这些观察结果显示,人们的宠物观正在改变,无数分析家评论道:宠物被看做孩子,特别是对于很多放弃生育的年轻消费者来说,更是这样。这对未来几年的宠物保险市场无疑是一个好兆头。

Pets do more than welcome us home, keep us company and, on occasion, try to snack on squirrels. They may become reliable revenue for insurance providers.

Make no mistake: Dogs, cats and other domesticated animals already serve as a healthy source of sales for retailers. Amazon, for instance, sold $1.4 billion worth of pet food in 2017, up 38 percent from the previous year.

And that does not include other pet products, such as squeaky toys or those miniature sweaters that please or disgust passersby, depending on their outlooks. The eCommerce operator’s pet product category has grown by at least 45 percent since 2015, based on the percentage of adults who had bought pet products via online retail channels over the preceding quarter.

“Based on third-party forecasts, Amazon expects online pet product sales to reach $8.2 billion in 2018,” reported Pet Business.

In total, the American Pet Products Association said U.S. consumers spend at least $70 billion on their pets.

The Pet Insurance Market

Now companies are turning their focus to pet insurance — though the industry remains in its very early stages. At least 2 million pets were insured in North America in 2017, a 17 percent increase from 2016,  Veterinarian’s Money Digest stated, citing the 2018 North American Pet Health Insurance State of the Industry Report. The pet insurance industry surpassed “$1 billion in gross written premiums at the end of 2017 — a 15 percent increase over 2016.”

“According to the 2018 report, the average accident and illness premium for dogs in 2017 was $535 ($44.58/month) and $335.19 ($27.93/month) for cats,” Money Digest said.

The news source traced the first pet insurance policy to 1981, when Jack Stephens, DVM, “brought more than 900 veterinarians together to create the first pet health insurance company.” Now, the “impressive year-over-year gains are a clear indication that the pet health insurance industry is thriving,” Money Digest said. The main goal of such insurance? “To end economic euthanasia by helping to ensure pet owners are financially prepared when their pets need unexpected veterinary care.”

Still, pet insurance policies cover only a fraction of animals kept inside households for companionship. U.S. consumers own more than 69 million dogs, along with more than 74 million cats. But dog owners take their pets to the vet an average of 2.6 times a year, with medical expenses for those canines running $227 per animal, according to mean figures.

Market Potential

Of course, unexpected expenses can easily drive up veterinarian bills — you would not have to search hard to find pet owners with stories about medical emergencies that end up costing thousands of dollars.

Perhaps a dozen companies have stepped into this niche to offer pet insurance. And some 5,000 employers, seeking to land top candidates, offer pet insurance benefits. Those employers make a difference.

“People find this type of insurance more credible if an employer has vetted it first,’” Dr. Carol McConnell, chief veterinary medical officer for Nationwide, the nation’s largest pet insurer, told The New York Times.

Pet insurers still are struggling to turn regular profits and attract more investors, but signs are turning green.

Take Trupanion, an industry leader.

“The pet insurer is still struggling to turn a profit, though its business is growing,” CNBC said. “Trupanion’s revenue increased in each of the past six years, from $55.5 million in 2012 to $242.7 million in 2017, and the number of enrolled pets quadrupled over the same period.”

Millennial Demand

That’s not all. Consumers are spending more on pet health, which could lead to more insurance interest. Millennials, in fact, “who make up the majority of pet owners, expect to spend more on their cat or dog’s healthcare than their own,” CNBC reported, citing a study by TD Ameritrade. “Healthcare is one of the most defensive segments of the pet industry. Pet owners might switch to generic dog food during a recession, but they won’t skip taking Bowser to the vet if he gets sick.”

Those observations speak to society’s changing view of pets, commented upon by countless analysts: Pets are being viewed as children, especially as many younger consumers forgo the expense and hassles of human reproduction.

That certainly bodes well for pet insurance in the coming years.


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