May identified as key period for veterinary insurance claims

  • After Petplan Equine released its annual review of most-claimed for conditions, H&H spoke to other equine insurers to find out if they saw similar claim patterns and asked a member of the British Equine Veterinary Association’s health and medicines committee for his thoughts...

    The top five most claimed-for conditions in 2019 have been revealed – with three of the conditions peaking in May, according to an equine insurance provider.

    Petplan Equine’s most claimed-for condition was arthritis – which overtook gastric ulcers in 2019. Colic, desmitis (inflamation of a ligament) and laminitis made up the remainder of the top five. The insurer also found that ulcer, colic and laminitis claims peaked in May.

    Petplan Equine’s veterinary expert Gil Riley MRCVS said he would expect seasonal peaks for some conditions, but looking at three years of claims figures showed how significant May is in horse care.

    “For three of the conditions to peak at the same time is concerning and we need to be aware of how changes we make to management in the spring can affect our horses,” he said.

    David Rendle, member of the British Equine Veterinary Association’s health and medicines committee, said Petplan’s data is interesting but should be “interpreted with caution”, adding other studies provide reliable indicators of disease prevalence at different times of the year.

    Mr Rendle said an increase in colic cases in the spring is associated with horses spending more time turned out, eating more grass of a higher sugar content. And he added that obesity is the biggest risk factor in the development of laminitis.

    “The identification of greater numbers of horses with gastric disease in spring is surprising as horses turned out are considered less likely to get gastric disease,” he said. “There may be greater numbers of claims at this time of year because more horses are being examined for gastric disease.”

    Insurance broker SEIB’s most claimed-for condition was external wounds and fractures, followed by tendon and ligament injuries, gastric ulcers, colic and spavin.

    An SEIB spokesman said although most claims were for external injuries, the highest claim cost was for tendons and ligament injuries.

    “What is interesting is the top two reasons to make a claim in 2019 are for accident and injury, but most people fear colic, which was fourth,” he said.

    “These figures show owners should not decide to suddenly stop insuring because they are in lockdown and not able to go out to competitions. Accidents happen at home and the top reasons to claim can happen at any time.”

    Insurer KBIS found that over a three-year average, lameness was the most claimed-for condition, with colic (including gastric ulcer treatment) in second.

    “We have seen an increase in the number of claims for gastric ulcers in recent years,” said a KBIS spokesman. “We have also seen a significant increase in the use of technologies for low-grade lameness claims, contributing to a rise in the average claim amount from previous years.”

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