Bitesize InsurTech: PitPat
February 18, 2017 Chris Sandilands
PitPat have developed “Fitbit for dogs” – a wearable telematics device that dogs wear on their collar. The company was founded in 2014 and has just received an investment from UK insurer RSA.
According to founder Andrew Nowell, there are around 9 million dogs in the UK of which nearly half (4m) are overweight or obese. That’s (partly) because 25% of dogs are left home alone and spend most of their time snoozing.
But life is about to get tougher for dogs.
PitPat have built a telematics platform to analyse dog data and are using this to tell their owners what their dog is doing and, more importantly, whether it is keeping up with its exercise goals. (These are bespoke to each breed – don’t over-exercise your German Shepherd puppy, apparently.) Reach your goals and you get a (virtual) tummy rub. It’s explained nicely in this short video.
The next phase of development is to connect pet owners with services such as vets – and insurance.
The Oxbow Partners view
It’s well known that many people look after their pets better than themselves, and pet “treats” are a rapidly expanding market.
It’s also well known that people are worried about sharing personal data with insurers and other third parties. But sharing data about your dog could be different: we think good dog owners, who are getting lots of virtual tummy rubs for their dog, will be proud to share this data – especially as it should lead to an underwriting discount. And dogs can’t, yet, complain about their loss of privacy.
For insurers, pet telematics provides three main opportunities:
- Customer Acquisition: PitPat’s device is already being sold in many retail outlets. Insurers have an opportunity to enhance their product.
- Data-driven underwriting and risk selection: Data from the platform allows insurers to understand risk more accurately. For example, there is no easy or reliable way that insurers can currently differentiate between fit and obese dogs.
- Preventative action: PitPat allows insurers to spot dogs that are due a trip to the vet or change of lifestyle – for example a drop in their exercise levels. This data can be used to reduce their loss ratio through preventative action.
At £40 for a device, and with average dog insurance premiums at £366 according to Bought By Many with good loss ratios, the economics work better than in many other product lines.
Maybe you think we’re barking mad – but we think good things lie ahead in pet telematics.