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Oyen Community Manifesto: Learnings after RM15,000,000 in pet insurance cover provided

Table of Content

Hi fellow pet parents!

This is Kevin here, Co-Founder & CEO of Oyen, and pet parent to my cheeky tabby, Sir Oyen (follow him @sir.oyen!)

We've recently hit our new milestone of reaching RM15,000,000 in pet insurance cover provided and launched our new website to our Oyen Fam and future Oyen Fams! I thought this would be a good milestone to reach out to you and talk about our story, challenges/ opportunities and our plans for the future.

Kevin & Sir Oyen


Fun fact: Michelle and I adopted Sir Oyen from a friend who happened to be rehoming 7 kittens from a stray mum and he was the last of the 7 kittens to be rehomed. We were sent a photo of baby Oyen and it was meant to be! 

My personal story and the birth of Oyen (Pet Insurance)

My mother and late-father started a business in insurance almost 40 years ago. My late-father was so passionate about insurance he practically raised me talking about how insurance exists to help people. I honestly never understood what he meant because I was never interested in the subject.

He passed away 5 years ago; fast forward to the present, my interest for insurance grew and I slowly tried to learn and understand his point of view. I moved back to Malaysia after spending 7 years in Singapore (in tech) and started my career officially in insurance in early 2020.

Then the pandemic hit.

We were all stuck at our homes and we noticed people were either planting their own vegetables, baking sourdough bread, learning skateboarding, or adopting new pets (including our friends, and us too!). But many new pet owners during this period are also first time pet owners and aren't really aware of the responsibility and future healthcare cost of their furkids.

We later learned that our good friend's cat contracted chronic kidney disease! She was terrified and worried sick for her cat but what was most shocking was the vet bills. Being the "insurance friend", she had asked me why she couldn't have gotten a pet insurance coverage in Malaysia like in some countries like the USA, Hong Kong or Singapore.

If insurance is set up to truly help people, why doesn't it exist for pet owners to protect their furkids, especially when people are treating their pets more and more like family?

This was when Oyen (Pet insurance, not our cat!) was born.

It's been a humbling 7 months and we now have hundreds of pet parents joining us every month and that number is growing very fast.

Some fun facts:

  • 68 breeds of cats and dogs insured
  • Most popular cat name: Luna (is it inspired from Sailor Moon?)
  • Top claim: >RM5k for a cataract surgery
  • RM15 million in pet coverage!

Our challenges: what we hear from some pet parents

"Is Oyen trustable? How do I know you will pay for my claim when my pet is sick or injured?"

"Are there any hidden terms and conditions?"

"Why are there so many exclusions? What's the point of buying insurance if there are so many things that are excluded?

"How will you know if I'm telling the truth or not? Shouldn't I just claim as much as I can from Oyen?"

It's understandable that for a new company or concept (like pet insurance), people have their doubts and their concerns. We think that it's not a pet insurance only problem but an industry problem in general but we're very committed to solve these problems for our pet parents.

Insurance is (really) broken, and we want to fix it with Oyen

We no longer trust each other.

Insurance used to be run as a community pool or co-op model where members participate and share the gains and losses of the pool. Now that insurance has become "corporatised", the members no longer feel this way. Customers do not trust the insurer and insurers do not trust the customers.

When it comes to "declaring" information, you might feel like you'll be "punished" for being honest, or that your application will be rejected. And for the insurers, they want to weed out the "bad actors" but most policyholders are genuine and honest but they get treated like they're not.

It's not a great feeling but we think technology, design and empathy can solve this problem.

This is why we invest not only in our product and technology with the launch of our new website, we also invest heavily in recruiting passionate individuals who are pet lovers to assist our customers with registration and claims processing.

What you can do with our new website

  • More payment options: FPX (Online Banking), Credit/ Debit Card, GrabPay, Boost
  • User Account: easier claims submission and better pet profile management
  • Conversational Eligibility Quiz: we've interviewed around 50+ pet parents to create a good registration experience
  • Multipet Plans: you can now choose different plans and insure both cats and dogs under 1 family plan

Our commitment to pet parents

Fairness and transparency
We want to be open about what’s covered and not covered in your plan with us. We don’t want to complicate our coverage so we choose simple language to explain the policy conditions with you. Everything can be found on our website, we also share all these honestly with furparents who reach out to us on our communication channels.
Kindness and empathy
We want to treat you like a human being and not speak with you with corporate language. We’re here to also listen to your problems and hear what you have to say on how we can do better for pet owners.

Commitment to the community and the pool
We want to be fair to all our Oyen Fam and make sure that we only pay out claims when it’s a legitimate claim. This is when we will also need your help to provide as much information as possible so that we can pay the claim fairly.

What we expect from Oyen Fam

Honesty
We’re here to make sure that all claims are fairly paid out and to ensure sustainability in our pool. We hope you’ll share accurate information about your pet’s treatment so that we can honor claims that are valid.
Patience
We are working very hard to simplify our claims process as much as possible. Our average claims settlement time is currently around 5 working days but we have some times paid claims as fast as 1 day as well! Having said that, our processing time relies on the information you and/or your vet provides usl. We hope you can be patient with us as we are on your side! :)

Understanding and respecting our community pool
We’re all in this together! The better we manage our pool, the better it is for all policyholders. This means, if we can keep our claims cost at a sustainable level, we can continue to manage the pricing of our pet insurance premium and all of us can continue to afford vet care for our furkids. In order to achieve this, we’ll need your understanding when we require more information from you during a claim, we don’t mean to be nosy, we just want to make sure we’re fair to the pool!

On that note, I’m also very pleased to announce that we will be introducing a “No Claims Discount” bonus to reward customers who have a clean claims record with us. The following scale will apply when you have no claims with Oyen :)
Year 1: 5% discount
Year 2: 10% discount
Year 3 or more: 15% discount
Stay tuned to our other product updates as we will be introducing more to our pet parents and Oyen fam to help you be better pet parents for your furkids!

Conclusion

We're far from the ideal insurance experience and it'll take some time for us to fix this 300+ years old industry. But we're so glad to have the support of our pet parents guiding us and providing us honest feedback on how to improve our product and services.

We did commit to insure 100,000 pets in Southeast Asia in the next 3 years but in fact, we think we can actually grow beyond Malaysia to the rest of Asia Pacific, and aim even higher to insure 1,000,000 pets in the region in the next 5 years.

This is a little scary but imagine if you could be a part of this huge community and all of you could share tips, knowledge and best practices to care for your furkids!
Our goal is to create a Pet Care Super App for you and your furkids.

To all Oyen Fam members, we thank you for your support the last 7 months and we hope we're able to create new solutions and products to help you be the best pet parent for your furkids!

Merry Christmas in advance and Happy New Year! 

On behalf of the Oyen Team,
Kevin Hoong
Co-Founder and CEO
Connect with me at Twitter: @kevinhoong

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