In December 2015 Royal Sun Alliance (RSA), the underwriter of insurance policies held with Tesco Bank and More Than published their ‘preferred referral network’. In July 2016 RSA updated their network list and also applied it to policies held with Argos and John Lewis. This preferred referral network is being written into all new policies and at the renewal of existing policies.
If you hold a pet insurance policy with Tesco Bank, More Than, Argos or John Lewis and your pet requires a referral you will be asked, by RSA, to seek referral to a practioner within their preferred referral network. If you choose to be referred to a specialist outside of this list you may incur a charge of £200 from RSA, in addition to your aggreed insurance excess. It should be noted however that this £200 charge is not implemented in emergency referral situations or where it can be said that there is a legitimate clinical justification to be referred outside the preferred referral network.
Interestingly whilst they have adopted the underwriters preferred referral network John Lewis has refused to impose the £200 fee to their customers.
M&S Bank who also offer pet insurance policies underwritten by RSA have so far NOT introduced the network to their policies.
We feel that the term ‘preferred referral network’ is somewhat misleading. Practices that appear on the list have not been selected as a superior choice of referral services but represent the practices who have agreed to work with RSA on a contractual basis.
Prymak Referrals decided against joining the so called ‘preferred referral network’ as we strongly believe that pet owners seeking referral should be free to choose their own preferred referral practice based on the advice and experience of their own veterinary surgeon and their own preference. If you would like to be referred to Prymak Referrals but are concerned about the £200 levy please call us to discuss how we can help.
We have joined forces with several other referral centres to form ‘Vets For Choice’. As Vets For Choice we are campaigning against RSA’s “preferred referral network”.
A petition has been set up to call on RSA to reconsider the move and to stop putting insurance profits before pet care. The petition can be signed here.
A second petition has also been set up to call on M&S Bank to continue to not implement the network in their policies. This petition can be signed here.