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PetsOnMe targets 5% stake in local pet insurance market

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Australian online pet care marketplace PetsOnMe has launched a new insurance offering for cats and dogs and aims to capture as much as 5% of the local pet cover market over five years.

Backed by some well-known insurance industry investors, PetsOnMe is underwritten by Pacific International Insurance and based in Newcastle, NSW.

“We realised that to succeed in the Australian insurance space we had to do something very compelling and we had to really hit the pain points that pet owners are frustrated with,” founder and Sales Director Alex Bedwani said.

The digital strategy and sales expert has more than a decade’s experience in technology and media and tells he wants to disrupt the market, which is currently dominated by Hollard.

“For too long they had it to themselves. We launched to shake up that monopoly and give people another choice,” he said. “The pet insurance space in this country is still a huge opportunity.”

PetsOnMe says it connects pet owners with carers as well as being a platform for brands to “reach and engage” with pet owners across Australia.

It was founded in 2007 as a marketplace predominantly for pet minding and walking, and introduced an insurance offer in recent months after feedback from its member-base of over 52,000 pet owners that pet cover options were too limited in Australia.

The insurance is distributed by PetsOnMe Insurance, as an authorised representative of Steadfast IRS.

Sydney-based Mr Bedwani says uptake of pet insurance in Australia sits at below 10%, far behind 40%-plus in the UK, even as pet ownership skyrocketed during COVID lockdowns.

“You would not buy a car without getting motor insurance and that is how the Brits treat pet insurance. I really do believe we are heading in that direction with the mounting cost of vet expenses,” he said.

“Australians are becoming far more aware of the need to have that financial protection.”

He says some of the benefits of the PetsOnMe insurance offer are covering 100% of a vet bill, minus excess, wellness benefits and greater cover for vaccinations and desexing up to $630 a year with no excess.

PetsOnMe insurance policyholders also receive a 12% discount on dog boarding, walking and sitting services.