New ‘telecatics' policy could also lower owner's premiums by up to 50%.
Gocompare.com has today added a new pet insurance product to its panel which could revolutionise the pet insurance market and reduce premiums for some cat owners by up to 50%.
The new product, known as CatMap, utilises similar technology to that used by ‘telematics' car insurance policies, where driver behaviour is monitored by sophisticated GPS transponders fitted to the car with the information uploaded in real-time to the insurer.
CatMap, which has been jointly developed by Gocompare.com and American company Feline Technologies Incorporated, uses a micro-tracking device small enough to be attached to a cat's collar and powered by a tiny lithium battery, giving a working life of approximately nine years. The whole unit is enclosed in a titanium ‘black-box recorder' type capsule designed to withstand a serious accident.
Similar to the equivalent car insurance products, CatMap premiums are calculated based on the behaviour of the insured cat. More sedentary cats could potentially benefit from premiums up to 50% lower than adventurous and potentially higher risk cats covered under a standard pet insurance policy. The key factors which will determine the cat's premiums are:
- Cat curfew - Cats avoiding going outdoors during the higher risk period of between 11pm and 7am will benefit from up to 20% lower premiums.
- Straying range - The risk will be based on the distance the cat wanders from the home and any hazards which may be encountered on their route including roads, rivers and railway lines. Stay-at-home cats could benefit from up to 15% lower premiums.
- Daredevil index - The cat's collar transponder is also able to measure the g-forces generated by high jumps and can monitor elevation to gauge the insured cat's propensity to climb trees, telephone poles and other tall objects. Cats which avoid hazardous activities will have a lower ‘daredevil index' and their owners will benefit from up to a further 15% off of their premiums.
Annual premium (based on ‘medium risk')
Up to 20% higher premium
Approx. 15% lower premium
Max. of 50% lower premium
Table: Example ‘lifetime' policy premiums for a two year old Persian cat living in Bristol*
Another benefit of the new CatMap product is the ability to track, in real-time, a cat's exact whereabouts. Using the specially designed CatMap dashboard, which is available as a smartphone or tablet app and which can also be accessed online, owners will be able to see on their screen exactly where there beloved pet is at any time. This means no more worries for pet owners when their cat disappears for days on end.
Paul Banks was one of a small number of owners whose cats have taken part in the development of the new product. His cat, Rooney, was chosen for the trial because system designers thought his behaviour would fully test CatMap's features.
Mr Banks said: "We saw an advert in an email from Gocompare.com about the trial and we thought it would be perfect for Rooney. He's always going out late at night and not coming back for days. He's cost us a few pounds in vet's bills and many sleepless nights.
"What we found out from CatMap was amazing! Using the map feature we could see that Rooney was spending a lot of time in one place on the high street which turned out to be a kebab shop. He had to scale a high wall and cross several busy roads to get there. As we thought though, Rooney wouldn't save much money with CatMap as he just takes too many risks."
Ben Wilson, pet insurance expert from Gocompare.com, commented on the new product: "If you own a certain kind of cat this new policy could be a revelation both in terms of saving on your pet insurance premiums but also finding out what your cat gets up to.
"For too long owners of responsible, home-loving cats have been subsidising the insurance premiums of more reckless felines with lifestyles that really test the ‘nine lives' adage to the limit. ‘Telecatics' policies are much fairer for everyone.
"Although in its infancy for use in a pet insurance application, the technology for these new ‘telecatics' policies will certainly develop further. We listened to concerns about CatMap possibly being an invasion of the pet's privacy, but we decided on balance that the benefits of potentially lower premiums and knowing much more about your cat's activities far outweighed any downside. We believe owners will increasingly consider products like CatMap to help them bring down the cost of protecting their pet."
Cat owners can find out more about CatMap and see the CatMap dashboard by visiting www.gocompare.com/pet-insurance/cat-insurance/telecatics/
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Notes to editors:
*Quotes generated on 28 March 2013 with a policy start date of 1 April 2013.