Reigning cats and dogs

Article date: 21 May 2003

Besotted "parents" are raising a generation of spoilt, selfishand pampered pets, new research reveals today.

Cats and dogs are living the high life and costing their ownersmore than £7 billion a year to look after says the "Pampered Pets"research from Norwich Union.

The study shows that some owners are just unable to say no totheir four-legged friends.

  • Nearly one in six pets (14 per cent) dine on fresh meat ratherthan tinned food
  • One in ten get birthday or Christmas presents
  • Seven per cent have their own easy chair
  • Eight per cent get into bed with their owners

Pets also get one-off treats. The research revealed cats anddogs that had been given christening gowns and self-portraits.Troubled pets also got psychiatric counselling.

More than two million people admit to taking more care overtheir beloved cat or dog than themselves. Nearly one in six (14 percent) owners have forsaken buying clothes and 12 per cent havegiven up holidays to care for their pet.

Ian Bettridge, product development manager at Norwich Union,said: "It used to be Dad who had an armchair that no one else couldsit in. Now, apparently, it's Rover.

"We seem to have grown from a nation of animal lovers to anation of animal worshippers. And for a good percentage of pamperedcats and dogs, life couldn’t be sweeter."

Norwich Union has launched its first pet insurance product,"Cats and Dogs", a policy aimed at helping Britain's 14 million catand dog owners cope with the rising vet bills.

Norwich Union is offering people a choice of two cover optionsunder "Cats and Dogs" – Essential Cover for those unexpectedevents for a maximum of 12 months* and Lifelong Cover, where eachillness and injury can be covered for a lifetime.**

Premiums start at £8.30 per month for dogs and £4.69 per monthfor cats. Prices vary depending on location, age and breed of petand level of cover taken.

The benefits of Norwich Union's "Cats and Dogs" policyinclude:

  • Vet fees
  • Third party liability for dogs
  • Death by illness or injury
  • Loss or theft
  • Advertising and rewards if your cat or dog goes missing
  • Holiday cancellation if cat or dog needs emergencytreatment

Ian Bettridge added: "Unfortunately there is no free healthservice for animals, and with one in three pets needing to visitthe vet each year, all too often owners have to make cutbacks tomeet these costs.

"We've launched our 'Cats and Dogs' product to help take theworry out of pet ownership so people can rest assured knowing thatif something goes wrong, their pet can get the best treatment itneeds.

"The most common injury – a broken leg – can cost upto £300 for a cat and £1,000 for a dog."

For more details customers should contact Norwich Union Directon 0800 107 0497 or visit the website


Media contacts:

Anick Purmessur or Matt Buchanan at QBO Bell Pottinger on 0207861 2424 or Lucy Haughey/David Ross at Norwich Union Press Officeon 08703 66 68 67

Notes to Editors:

  • Norwich Union commissioned Taylor Nelson Sofres to conductresearch amongst 760 cat and dog owners across the UK during April2003.

    * Essential cover – provides cover for a set amount perinjury or illness for 12 months only. If the monetary limit isused up before the 12 month period ends then there is no morecover for that condition. As it only covers for 12 monthstreatment from the date the injury happened, or the illness wasfirst noticed, it doesn't offer long-term cover for chronicconditions such as diabetes or cancer. ** Lifelong cover is anextensive policy that aims to provide cover for all conditionsfor the whole pet's life. Offering a maximum benefit for allclaims made in any one policy year. Including chronic illnesses,the client can claim year after year, for the same condition,provided the policy remains in force. The limit in the policy isreinstated at renewal regardless of any claims in the previousyear.

  • Norwich Union is the UK’s largest insurer with a marketshare of around 16 per cent and is more than 1.5 times the size ofits nearest rival. It is also the largest personal linesinsurer.
  • It has a focus on insurance for individuals and smallbusinesses. It insures:
    • one in five households
    • one in five motor vehicles
    • more than 700,000 businesses
  • Norwich Union products are available through a variety ofdistribution channels including brokers, corporate partners suchas banks and building societies and Norwich Union Direct.
  • Norwich Union’s news releases and a selection of imagesare available from Aviva's internet press centre
  • An ISDN facility is available for studio quality broadcast.Call the press office on 08703 66 68 68.
  • For all life & pensions media enquiries call 08703 66 6873.
  • For all other media enquiries call 08703 66 68 68.

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