BVA and BSAVA respond to launch of RSA pet insurance preferred referral network

18 December 2015

This week UK pet insurer RSA launched its preferred referral network for veterinary treatment, with Tesco Bank and MORE TH>N policy holders being the first to switch to the new requirements.

This is a business decision for RSA, in light of pressures facing the pet insurance industry - however BVA and BSAVA requested a meeting with the pet insurer earlier this year to discuss members’ concerns about RSA's policy conditions concerning cases for referral.

The two Associations outlined the importance of the vet-client relationship, especially with respect to clinical decision making, and emphasised that decisions must be made in the best interests of the pet-based on clinical indication and not be driven by cost. RSA refers to these meetings in their recent Q&A document (number 13).

However, this so-called “engagement” should not be read as implying the two Associations complicity or acceptance of the changes. We stressed our concerns to RSA and would welcome opportunity for further input.

BVA and BSAVA actively encourage our members to make us aware of their concerns, and to keep us informed about how RSA’s new approach is working in practice. This will help us to continue to champion vets' voices on an issue that impacts our profession.

RSA is writing directly to over 4,500 first opinion vet practices to ensure that they are fully aware of the preferred network practices and the policy changes that have been applied to MORE TH>N and Tesco Bank policy holders. The letter contains a Q&A document and a copy of the preferred referral vet list, explaining that referral network policy wording is now applied in new policies and at renewal for these policy holders.

Practically speaking, this means if a vet recommends a particular referral practice that is not part of the RSA network, the customer may need to pay £200 towards the referral practice bill depending upon the conditions that apply in their insurance policy. However, RSA has confirmed that it will treat each case on its merits with the key requirement being for the client to call RSA if they wish to be referred outside of the network. They state that if there is a justifiable reason for being referred to a vet not on their referral network then this will be discussed with each client directly. 

More information, including RSA's Q&A, is available for BVA Members on our Community.

BVA Media Office