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April 27, 2011

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Confusion over dog insurance

A COURT has called for clarification on dog insurance following a wrangle over compensation after an owner's pet attacked an elderly man.

The dog owner brought a lawsuit against Shanghai Anxin Agricultural Insurance Co. asking it to pay the compensation to the victim in the first case of its kind heard by a local court.

Although the case was settled through mediation, the Minhang People's Court said yesterday pet insurance contains too many gray areas.

The dog's owner, surnamed Wu, had asked for 80000 yuan (US$12,250) but ended up receiving 20000 yuan.

Wu had bought insurance covering compensation for attacks by his pet when he applied for a dog license.

But Shanghai Anxin refused his request, arguing that as the policy had been signed by the district canine management office, the office - not Wu - was insured.

Any lawsuit should be brought by the office, claimed the insurance company.

Dog insurance is offered by canine management offices to dog owners applying for or renewing dog licenses.

A policy costs 50 yuan.

Xu Yuhua, the case's judge, admitted the court was concerned whether Wu was qualified to be the plaintiff and called for problems with the product to be rectified.

A spokesman for Shanghai Anxin said the company will review the policy.

Such problems may increase as more people are expected to apply for cheaper dog licenses when new regulations take effect on May 15.


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