Insurer claims some vets carry out unnecessary procedures leading to increased premiums

Direct Line has called on the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to acknowledge that some vets are carrying out unnecessary procedures that could lead to increased premiums for pet owners.

Chris Price, head of animal insurance at Direct Line, recently said that the increasing cost of claims had resulted in increased premiums. Price believes costs are rising because vets are seeing fewer animals but charging more to make up for lost income.

A Direct Line spokeswoman said: “He hopes to get in front of the vet association and work with them.”

But Nick Blayney, BVA president, said he had seen no evidence of veterinary malpractice and challenged Price to produce evidence.

He said: “There’s no doubt that the insured client demands the very highest level of treatment, so it’s up to the insurance company to get its house in order. Vets have no part in the contract; we simply act on behalf of our clients.”

Blayney said vets could sometimes offer different treatments depending on the client’s budget. But he said it was only natural that if a client was insured, he would opt for a more expensive treatment.

Direct Line declined to provide figures for its pet insurance premiums. But figures from Petplan show the average claim per condition per year has almost doubled in five years to £715 for dogs and £501 for cats.