Digestive disorders including colic and gastric ulcers are the number one cause for claims being made, SEIB Insurance Brokers has revealed. Data compiled by insurer pinpointed the most often claimed for ailments among its insured horses, as well as the average costs for claims made.

For the second year running, they found external trauma was the second highest cause for claims in 2022 and behind this was degenerative disease including skin disease. These three groups of illness and accident made up more than half of all claims made by SEIB’s equine clients last year.

During 2022, the average cost of a claim related to digestive disorders including colic and gastric ulcers for was £2,459. Gastric ulcers made up the bulk of claims in this group with 59%. A further breakdown of gastric ulcer claims revealed that 37% of claims cost over £3,000 while 5% of claims reached the limit of SEIB’s veterinary cover payout of £5,000.

“SEIB’s normal procedure for a gastric ulcer claim is to consider treatment following a positive gastroscope,” said SEIB’s Equestrian Business Manager, Steph Ellis. “At the end of the course of treatment, another gastroscopy would be required to confirm that ulcers are still present before considering the cost of further medication. In line with the normal terms and conditions of insurance, the policy does not provide any cover for preventative or maintenance treatment, and therefore no further reimbursement of fees will be paid once the ulcers have cleared.”

External trauma including “violent” accidents, kicks, cuts, wounds and fractures made up 56% of all claims made. Claims for external trauma had an average cost of £1,379.73 with 17% of claims reaching a cost of £3,000.

“Wound treatment can often be thought of as a more ‘straightforward’ situation when calling the vet as there is often less diagnosis needed,” said SEIB’s Equestrian Business Supervisor, Joanne Goodrich. “However, having a visible cause of an issue doesn’t always make it the cheapest to treat.”

‘Peace of mind’

Lisa Clarke owns coloured cob, Malibu, who is insured with SEIB. She explained what happened when Malibu went down with colic on 23 December last year.

“We initially thought he was on the mend but by Christmas eve he was being operated on for an impaction,” she said. “We had to make a very quick decision to operate and having insured with SEIB for many years I was confident we would have no problem with making a claim. The aftercare for the operation didn’t go too smoothly and Malibu suffered an infected cannula whilst he was still at the vets leading to complications for him. This also resulted in increasing the cost of the claim. I rang SEIB asking with a query about the details of this and they got back to me within the hour. Fortunately Malibu is now completely recovered. I know my insurance with SEIB gives me peace of mind, even if Malibu has several exclusions owing to his medical history.”

Degenerative disease and development disorder, including skin disease was the third most common cause for an equine claim at SEIB in 2022 with an average claim cost of £2,435, similar to that of digestive disorders. Skin disease was the most frequently occurring ailment in this group where 23% of claims cost between £1,000 and £2,000.They cover a wide range of problems, from fungal infections, allergies, rain scald, aural plaque, ringworm, mud fever, sweet itch and, sarcoids.

“There are so many wonderful advances in veterinary treatment and technology which help our horses live longer, happier and healthier lives,” said SEIB’s Marketing Manager Nicolina MacKenzie. “However, this has resulted in the cost of treatments going up significantly meaning that having correct and effective insurance for our horses is more important than ever before. We never know what is around the corner, but insurance helps ensure the wellbeing of our horses and provides peace of mind to horse owners.”

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