“ Jardine Lloyd Thompson UK Ltd provides top notch insurance for your pets. „
JLT Pet Insurance is one of a growing number of firms which offer to insure your pets against illness and injury. Although they have gone through a number of name changes over the years, JLT were actually one of the first firms to offer this type of insurance, before it was a big money-spinning area. In those days, they offered excellent personal service and treated the customer with respect. Over the years, they have increased in size and now sadly, profit appears to be more important to them than people.
When I first started out with them, their premiums were reasonable and certainly competitive when compared against the other companies that offered similar insurance. The excess was also fairly low. For example, I recall the first premium I paid to them (in the mid 1990s) was around £100 for the year, with an excess of £25. The level of service was also of a high standard. You could often speak with a particular individual who was dealing with your claim and so get an element of continuity. Their service was fast and efficient and it was payment of the claim was usually sorted within just a couple of weeks.
Over the years, their annual premiums increased significantly, as pet insurance became a lucrative area and the excess also rose dramatically. By the time I cancelled the policy (in the early 2000s), for example, my monthly premium had risen to around £45 per month and the excess was almost £100. Not only did this mean that you were paying a higher premium, it also meant that you had to stump up a higher proportion of the bill before you were able to submit a claim.
Even so, I could have stood this had the level of service not deteriorated. Sometimes it is worth paying slightly more if you know you are going to get a better quality of service. Sadly, as the price increased, the quality plummeted in the opposite direction. The individual and their pet ceased to matter. Far from claims being settle quickly, they were long, drawn out affairs with JLT often looking for ways to avoid paying, or the owner facing a long battle before they finally received any sort of reimbursement.
The best way to illustrate this is with two (ahem) "tails" about pets owned by my family and insured with JLT. I call it A Tail of Two Doggies.
"Tail" One: the Case of the Dead Dog
Sad though it is, there comes a time when a pet dies. Anyone who owns a dog will know that they are very much a part of the family and, daft as it might sound, losing a dog is very upsetting. Some years ago, my mum and dad's dog was insured with Jardine (now JLT), When he died (at the ripe old age of 17), my dad wrote to them cancelling the policy. A few days later, he got a lovely letter expressing sympathy for their loss and confirming that the policy had been cancelled. A fine example of making the customer feel valued and one which really meant a lot to my mum and dad.
By contrast,15 years later, their next dog died. Once again, my dad wrote cancelling the policy. This time, he got back a terse, two line response confirming this had been done; nothing else. Worse still, a couple of months later they sent him a renewal notice for the policy, which upset them. When he wrote to complain, he got another terse, two-line response blaming the ubiquitous "computer error"... with not an apology in site. What a change in attitude towards the customer!
"Tail" Two: The Case of the Missing Testicle
Once again, when I first got my dogs, I insured them with Jardine. For a combined total of around 15 years, I paid my insurance premium each month and never made a single claim.
Eventually, one dog had to go to the vet for a routine vaccination and it was discovered he had an undescended testicle. This needed removing, as they can turn cancerous if left.
After the operation, I sent the bills off to JLT. After the excess had been paid, I was claiming around £100. A few days later, I got a letter back denying the claim on the grounds that this was a "pre-existing condition" that I had not declared when I took out the policy. I denied this, since I had not know about the problem at the time and appealed against the decision. They refused to budge.
Two separate vets at two separate practices had treated the dog for this condition. Both were amazed the claim had been turned down and were happy to write to JLT stating that in their professional opinion, there was no way it could be considered a pre-existing condition. No dice. Apparently, the pen-pushers at JLT know more about veterinary science that two practicing vets with over 50 years experience between them. When I told the vets this, one was so outraged that he immediately removed all leaflets and posters promoting JLT from his practice and started actively advising customers NOT to use them. Still, I suppose they were quite happy with themselves. After all, they'd managed to avoid paying out £100.
I also pointed out to JLT that I had been paying premiums for three dogs for a number of years and that this was my first ever claim. In response to this, one of their employees had the audacity to lecture me on how "dogs were a responsibility and brought expenses with them" and insinuated I was trying to make a profit out of my dog's illness!
And lest you think this is an isolated case, other family members have all had their claims turned down on spurious grounds, or have had to fight hard to get JLT to pay up. Needless to say, in the face of this attitude, I took the only course of action remaining and cancelled the policy.
So there we go. I could go on and criticise JLT for constantly increasing their premiums, raising the excess and taking longer to settle claims. These, though, are now common practice in the insurance industry, so it would be unfair to criticise JLT purely on these grounds. At the end of the day, their customer service has deteriorated massively and they can no longer be relied upon to provide the cover you pay them for.
JLT Pet Insurance
St Phillip's Point
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