Column: Roger's Soapbox

Insurance Goes to the Dogs

By: | October 1, 2016

Roger Crombie is a United Kingdom-based columnist for Risk & Insurance®. He can be reached at [email protected]

Do you have a pet? A dog, perhaps? Or do you just like animals on the internet? For many people, images of cute puppies and kitties are the main point of being connected.

While the spirit sags at such news, the financial importance of the business side of pet ownership is undeniable. The same applies, one assumes, to pet insurance.

British insurer More Than offers pet insurance. Its website is full of helpful tips on how to win your dog’s affection, although there’s nothing on there about how to treat wounds inflicted by dogs.

Full disclosure requires me to tell you that, as a reporter, I was routinely used as a chew toy by vicious mutts, even those belonging to friends. I hate dogs.

But enough about me. More Than has commissioned an art exhibition for dogs.

“A selection of paintings and drawings created in a dog’s color spectrum are … on display … for the visiting dogs to enjoy,” the official YouTube blurb states. The paintings are hung at dog height, i.e., a few inches off the floor.

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The canvases are part of a fun day out for doggies, the work of British artist and inventor Dominic Wilcox, whoever he may be. His “interactive” exhibits for canines include an open car window simulator, a 10-foot dog bowl filled to the brim with hundreds of plastic balls made to look like dog food, and other similar conceits.

The exhibition has been created as part of a campaign by More Than, aimed at motivating people to spend 15 minutes a day more than they already do with their pets. More than that, I cannot say.

Were I a customer of More Than, I would be having the same unpleasant experience I had when visiting private Swiss banks. My money paid for all this marble, I used to think, and I’m expected to be grateful for it.

I have a bone to pick with More Than. Let’s overlook for a moment the dog thing. I understand how keenly you feel the close bond forged (ahem) between you and your mutt. You fill each other’s needs: Your dog needs food, and you need psychiatric help.

More Than, like any other well-run company, seeks to burnish its credentials as a caring organization. It may have done so: A photo of some fleabags staring at dreary artwork was carried by most daily newspapers, although mostly with sarcasm attendant.

I question More Than’s judgment in infantilizing art and, indeed, the dog itself. That noble creature, blah blah blah.

Were I a customer of More Than, I would be having the same unpleasant experience I had when visiting private Swiss banks. My money paid for all this marble, I used to think, and I’m expected to be grateful for it.

At least in the Swiss banks I had a dog in the game, one might say. If my insurance premium were higher than it need be so that some bottom-sniffers could be entertained, I’d be peeved.

The whole idea is patently nonsensical: They’re dogs; they have tiny brains; they class everything as either bacon or not-bacon. They ain’t nothin’ but hound dogs.

It is possible, I suppose, that Mr. Wilcox is poking fun at art and the people who enjoy it, but I doubt More Than would be pleased to hear that. An insurance company peddling subversion is a contradiction in terms. Woof! &

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The R&I Editorial Team can be reached at [email protected]