25 March 2020: Telemedicine is fast becoming an integral part of human healthcare, especially since the acknowledgement of its importance by the federal government, most recently in the announcement this week that Medicare will now cover all telemedicine calls. In parallel to human healthcare, veterinary care also needs to be affordable, convenient and – above all – accessible for pet owners – especially in the case of a lockdown.
PetSure, Australia’s leading pet insurance administrator, has today announced a new partnership with Vetchat, Australia’s leading veterinary telehealth service which gives customers immediate access to a consult with a nationally registered vet via text or video.
PetSure, which invests in emerging technologies to further animal health, has decided to invest in a provider of next-generation digital veterinary services because it views telemedicine as a critical service for pet owners. PetSure will become a 40% shareholder in Vetchat and enter into a strategic partnership to grow veterinary telehealth services in Australia. PetSure’s investment will enable the Vetchat business to achieve greater growth to service a large proportion of Australia’s pet parents. A PetSure representative and an independent director will sit on the VetChat Board.
PetSure CEO Alex Thomas said: “PetSure exists for the welfare of Australian pets, and we are very glad to be able to invest in building this infrastructure that enables people to continue caring for their pets – especially under the current circumstances.
“Vetchat improves access to veterinary advice via technology, leading to better pet health outcomes. Many people are turning to telehealth services for their own medical needs at this time – now they can do the same for their pets without leaving their house.
“We are constantly innovating to improve pet owners’ and vets’ experiences, with services like GapOnlyTM revolutionising pet insurance to make people’s lives easier and less stressful. We have been looking at implementing telehealth infrastructure for pets for some time, but today it is more needed than ever so we are moving fast to support this business to help as many Australians as soon as possible.”
Good for pets, good for vets
Vetchat gives vets a channel to advise pet owners as soon as they have a concern. The opportunity to give personalised advice to concerned pet parents allows vets to reach more animals that need it, faster – not just in the current environment, but under usual circumstances where some people may struggle to get to a clinic and in good time. Vets also benefit from the flexibility of being able to apply their specialised skill set where it’s needed, in times that suit them.
Alex Thomas added: “Investing in Vetchat has the added benefit of helping vets by offering them a flexible way to supplement their earnings. Like many Australians, they may find their work decreasing right now. Beyond the current environment, it will offer vets that are parents or carers a long-term flexible work opportunity. It’s an added perk that we are able to continue to support technological innovation that improves the welfare of pets and the lives of pet parents, as well as an exceptional Australian entrepreneur, with this investment.”
Demand for veterinary telemedicine is growing fast around the world, especially in mature pet ownership markets such as UK, US, Sweden. Partnerships with pet insurers and other players in the pet health care sector have proved vital to growing televet businesses and getting them into the hands of pet parents.
Vetchat CEO Dr. Claire Jenkins commented: “Vetchat is Australia’s leading veterinary telehealth service, and we are delighted to receive this strategic investment from Australia’s top pet insurer. PetSure’s investment will help Vetchat continue to build our vision of a world where pets and carers can access vets anywhere, anytime.
“Vetchat provides families peace of mind by immediately connecting their pets with Australian-licensed vets via video and text chat consultations. Pet carers can describe and show their pet’s issue and receive advice around what to do next from a qualified expert – including whether the issue can be safely managed at home or requires a hands-on examination or test, as well as an understanding of the problem’s urgency.
“Vetchat is complementary to bricks-and-mortar vet clinics, where pets need to be seen for diagnosis and medications. It extends personalised pet care to the home, providing a trusted advisor to pet owners at every stage of a pet’s life, from choosing a pet, to their diet, health, behaviour and end of life advice. It’s the speed and the quality of the advice that makes Vetchat so valuable, lifting the level of pet care.
“Just as we do for our own health, people want instant, personalised service delivered on their devices, and are adopting of telehealth as a viable alternative to in-person doctor visits. People will want the same option for their other family members, their pets.”
VetChat was founded in 2015 and is led by Dr. Claire Jenkins, an experienced vet who has directly led the business as CEO since inception.
Today, VetChat has around 13 vets available on its platform for consults. It is currently recruiting for Veterinary surgeons interested in online Veterinary positions. Those interested can get in touch at email@example.com.
Emerging from humble beginnings 20 years ago, PetSure is a pet business that currently provides a sense of security to almost half a million Australians who are devoted to their life with pets. PetSure underwrites and administers the pet insurance propositions of more than 25 brands, including IAG, AAMI, Woolworths, RSPCA, Pet Barn, Guide Dogs, Medibank, Bupa and HCF.
PetSure is a major contributor to the vet industry in Australia and accounts for almost 10% of all the vet expense paid for by Australians. In addition to our fast claims turnaround process, we also offer GapOnlyTM, the first claim reimbursement service in Australia whereby a customer does not have to leave the vet in order to receive their claim reimbursement.
Gigi Shaw, BlueChip Communication
- PetSure provides a sense of security to half a million Australian pet owners.
- We are three different businesses within one – a global leader in underwriting, claims processing and administration services.
- As an insurance underwriting agency we power the pet insurance propositions of more than 25 brands, including some of Australia’s most recognizable and prestigious brands, such as IAG, AAMI, Woolworths, RSPCA, PetBarn, Guide Dogs, Medibank, Bupa and HCF.
- As a global leader in claims processing services we assess over half a million Australian claims each year and we are retained by leading pet insurers in the United Kingdom and the United States to provide claims processing services.
- Administration services is our third business arm: the financial technology solution GapOnly. GapOnly is a paperless claims service whereby a customer can obtain claims approval within minutes, without ever leaving the veterinary surgery. It transforms the claims experience with reduced out-of-pocket expenses and is progressively rolling-out to veterinary surgeries and hospitals Australia-wide.
- As an underwriter, administrator and fintech company, PetSure is helping to transform the pet healthcare experience of Australian and global pet parents, with a commitment to their lives with their pets.
- To find out more about PetSure, please visit http://www.petsure.com.au/