A Victory for Pet Lovers

Last week the ASA (Advertising Standard Authority) made a landmark ruling after a customer lodged a complaint on misleading advertising, and a well-known national pet insurance provider was ordered to immediately withdraw their ad.  This is a breakthrough for pet care, giving voice to what we have been fighting to come to light for some time.

MediPet has been the market leader in pet insurance coverage for more than a decade. Recently, we have seen small brands under the umbrella of large household/car/life insurance companies pop up, using their splashy corporate marketing budgets for national advertising campaigns, that make inaccurate claims and offer “too good to be true” benefits. Some have even gone so far as to post “anonymous” and “neutral” comparative reviews of pet medical aid options, that are inaccurate, biased and misleading. These unethical marketing tactics have until now gone unchallenged, but customers are wizening up and putting a stop to being taken advantage of in this way.

At MediPet we pride ourselves on providing authentic veterinary coverage, and we are committed to transparency, honesty and faithful partnership with our members. While we support competitors’ efforts to assist in providing pet care to the market, we applaud this move to halt dishonest promotion. We would like to take this opportunity to highlight why our members’ appreciation and loyalty has entrenched MediPet’s dominant position in the South African pet insurance market.

The most popular benefit of joining MediPet is our annual maximum of R35 000 towards all accidents, illnesses and emergency treatments for Option 1 and 2. Most other insurance companies set limits on the amount of coverage available for each line item on invoices. For example, the number of x-rays or doctor’s visits covered per year, or a financial limit on hospitalization are often regulated. We contribute up to R35 000 per year in claims for Option 1 & 2, and up to R20 000 on Accident Only, without question. Within these amounts we simply do not prescribe how much can be used for specific treatments.

We also pay the full price of your approved vet bills, and do not attempt to apply a supposed “South African Councils Guideline of Approved Tariffs”, because this was done away with in 2013!

An exciting new add-on benefit, Top Dog/Top Cat, has recently been introduced to contribute towards routine care, including vaccinations, any tick/flea treatment, de-worming, micro chipping and sterilization.

Most pet insurance providers flat out do not cover hereditary or congenital conditions, and some go so far as to exclude certain breeds. MediPet however, will always cover these, on the provision that they are not present prior to application of the policy, or during the applicable waiting periods.

Should your pet develop special needs while under our cover and require chronic care, we work with you, your vet and our underwriters to design a plan specific to your pet’s requirements. Again, this is an area that other providers often do not cover.

MediPet employs a full-time vet and a vet nurse, who assess each claim carefully, partnering with your vet, and dealing directly with the underwriting managers. It is for this reason we are “vet approved” and many of our referrals, in fact, come from satisfied vets. We introduced this special feature, which is covered by your R12 per month vet fee, because most underwriters’ area of expertise is medical aid, and not pet insurance. This has helped MediPet pay out over 93% of claims. We strive to do so within 5-7 working days, and we pay out on average R4m per month in claims. It is standard for all insurance policies across the board to carry a policy administration fee although this is not necessarily to assist with vets and their claims, and the cost of these are often hidden or “worked in” to your premium, so you never really know what that amount is. With MediPet, what you see is what you get. We don’t have any hidden ‘fine print.”

MediPet is the only provider that offers an annual benefit towards complementary, or alternative treatments. And we do so without charging you an excess each time you claim. While all other insurers will cover only mainstream veterinary treatment, MediPet pays out up to R5 000 annually for holistic treatment, R2 000 for supplements and R4 000 for behaviour (not training). We even assist with prescription food for up to 6 months.

There are a number of providers who will not accept your pet if their vaccinations are not up to date, or if they are not micro-chipped or tattooed. At MediPet, while we do not endorse a tardy vaccination record, we will not penalize your pet.  We do, however, strongly recommend vaccinations be kept up to date, and that your pet is both sterilized and micro-chipped. If vaccinations are not up to date for your particular pet, and you submit a claim for a vaccinatable disease, we are unfortunately not able to cover it.

Our underwriters refund claims directly back to you, unless you make specific arrangements with us to pay your vet directly. All we require is a completed claim form and your invoices sent to us within 60 days of initial treatment date. Claims can be emailed, faxed, or hand delivered to us, so the process truly is seamless and easy.

Many people ask why we don’t work with a card-based system, and the answer is simple: It doesn’t work, we don’t need one, and we don’t wish to force our members to have to refund the cash after claims are denied.

MediPet offers both monthly and annual payment options for each policy, and members who select an annual policy save one month’s premium every year. While cheaper policies might be attractive in the short run, you get what you pay for, and often members are disappointed to find out what is NOT covered. We do not offer any misleading  pricing schemes or use unethical marketing tactics to mislead potential members. Please keep in mind when selecting a policy, cheaper plans cover less and pay back less in claims.

MediPet can confidently claim to offer the most comprehensive cover available, and this can be backed up by our more than 10 years as the only dedicated pet insurance broker in the industry.  Our claims history speaks for itself too. We are proud to report that our members have received over R105 million back.

When we ask our members what they appreciate about us most, after authentic policies, it’s our compassionate & caring support team who partner with you as members. We don’t have a big call centre with long waits. In fact, you will often be given the direct contact details of a team member to assist you with your policy and claims one-on-one.

We acknowledge the competition, and welcome it in fact. It helps us bring about more awareness of the need to protect your pet health, and it assists us all to continuously strive to move ahead, change, adapt, and keep offering the best care. This healthy competition, however, needs to be regulated and constantly monitored to ensure dirty tactics are kept at bay, protecting you and your pets from being taken advantage of, in what is often, your greatest hour of need.