A veterinarian gives a preventive injection to a dog at an animal hospital in Korea. The country plans to enable animal hospitals and pet shops to sell pet insurance. Photo courtesy of Seoul Metropolitan Government

Korea strives to expand new markets for pets

Animal hospitals and pet shops will be allowed to sell insurance products for companion animals in South Korea beginning next year, according to the country’s Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs on Aug. 9.

The measure is aimed at increasing the insurance coverage for pets, which is quite low here compared to developed countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States.

The number of Korean households with pets topped 6 million last year, up around 65 percent from a decade ago. But only 0.89 percent of them were covered by insurance last year.

This compares to 25 percent in the United Kingdom, 10 percent in the United States, and 40 percent in Sweden, the ministry noted.

“Currently, 11 Korean insurers offer dedicated pet products. But their coverage is not sufficient, yet and we want to change this,” a ministry official said.

“Selling insurance products at animal hospitals and pet shops would encourage people to purchase them. As we don’t have to revise a law for the step, we will introduce the new policy in the not-so-distant future.”

The official said that detailed plans would be disclosed next month through cooperation with the financial authorities.

Along with the insurance, the government said that it would promote four sectors of pet food, pet healthcare, pet technology, and pet service.

For example, the Seoul administration will bring about a new national certificate for animal trainers to issue some 1,500 units per annum starting next year.

The country also plans to amend the Animal Protection Act so that pet burial facilities will be easily established even in densely populated areas. Currently, they are not allowed.

The publisher studied Korean history in Seoul and management of business administration in the United Kingdom. He has 20-year experiences in the media business. Kim can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.