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Cover for your faithful friend and companion:
Payment processes and customer communication with AGILA pet insurance

The atriga FutureTalk Assekuranz with Christian Christians, Team Leader Treasury & Office Operation at AGILA Haustierversicherung

For almost 30 years, the multi-award-winning AGILA pet insurance company has been insuring dogs and cats against high vet bills and liability claims and currently has almost 500,000 existing customers. The direct insurer AGILA has been part of the pan-European Pinnacle Pet Group since 2022. We spoke to Christian Christians, Team Leader Treasury & Office Operation at AGILA, about what makes pet insurance so special and why the processes in the areas of payment transactions, customer communication and dunning differ from those of other insurers in the context of the current ibi research study ‘Payment disruptions/defaults in the insurance industry: awareness, prevention and strategies in the private customer business’.


Mr Christians, what is special about pet insurance?

Dogs and cats have been loyal companions and friends of humans for decades and are an integral part of the family for many. Pet owners therefore have a very special relationship with their four-legged friends, but also know that expensive treatments, operations or liability claims can quickly exceed their financial means. AGILA is all about insuring against these risks with a manageable monthly premium, instead of not being able to afford urgently needed veterinary treatment in the worst-case scenario and seeing your four-legged friend suffer. A terrible idea! As you can see, the topic is highly emotional and we have a deep relationship of trust with our customers. This is a significant difference to car insurance, for example, where it’s primarily about the price.

Christian Christians, Team Leader Treasury & Office Operation at AGILA Haustierversicherung: “We can already process up to 82 per cent of the claims received in pet health insurance automatically.”

2024-05-13 atriga NL - Future Talk C Christians

Isn’t claims settlement also an important factor in the relationship between customer and insurer?

Absolutely. And that is precisely why we have restructured and largely digitalised our processes in this area. Today, we can already process up to 82 per cent of the claims received for animal health insurance automatically. The customer usually has the money in their account after three days, and our payments are processed five days a week. Our customers can upload and submit veterinary invoices via our customer app or the customer portal on the website using a photo in just a few seconds.

So AGILA pays quickly, that’s good. But what happens to customers who get into payment difficulties? How do we communicate with them?

Our basic advice to all those who have miscalculated: Please contact us in good time so that we can look for a solution together. As a direct insurer, we have the great advantage of knowing the e-mail addresses of all our customers. This allows us to respond to returned direct debits in the first reminder stage with an e-mail, which saves a lot of money. In the second step, we then send a letter announcing that the direct debit will be collected again in the following month. If this is followed by another returned direct debit, we go into debt collection, and we simply have to be consistent, because ultimately non-payers harm the entire insurance community because we have to pass on the losses to the premiums. And of course neither customers nor AGILA want that.

Something else I would like to mention in this context is the liability insurance for dogs, which is now compulsory in some federal states. Damage can quickly become very expensive if the dog causes a bicycle accident, for example. Not to mention major claims, which are not that rare. After all, our maximum sum insured for property damage, personal injury and financial loss is 20 million euros with an excess of just 80 euros per claim! This is a major challenge for us, because according to the statutory provisions, liability remains in place even if the customer has not paid their insurance premium. We therefore have to communicate clearly and assertively with the defaulting customer.

Keyword direct debit: Why is the SEPA Direct Debit Scheme so popular with AGILA?

Quite simply, it is very convenient for the customer and cost-effective for us. It is also very easy to process and we can post returned direct debits fully automatically. With the SEPA Direct Debit Scheme, all communication takes place directly via the banking system and the reason, for example a closed account or insufficient funds, is communicated to us via a code. This means that we can also process returned direct debits 100 per cent automatically. A major advantage for the customer is that they can cancel an authorised direct debit for eight weeks without giving any reason.

But surely not all customers want to have their premiums collected by SEPA direct debit?

That’s right, of course we also offer payment by invoice. And here, too, we have taken precautions: every AGILA customer has their own virtual IBAN so that we can process 99 per cent of all self-payers automatically. The entire process is highly digitalised and automated. The details on the transfer are checked according to various criteria and parameters, for example whether the customer has several contracts for different four-legged friends. The whole thing also works so well because AGILA has its own bank sort code, which enables clear allocations.

Mr Christians, thank you for the interview!

ibi research study

The study ‘Payment disruptions/defaults in the insurance industry: awareness, prevention and strategies in the private customer business’ was conducted by the renowned ibi research institute at the University of Regensburg ( The study partners are the companies Krause & Schopp (, experts in payment transactions for the insurance industry, atriga (, a pioneer in customer-friendly and digital receivables management, and the white label BNPL enabler axytos (

About the dialogue partner
Christian Christians has over 20 years of experience in cash management and in the introduction of alternative payment methods and digitalisation software. He has optimised processes in dunning and direct debit procedures, supported the introduction of SEPA and virtual bank accounts and is continuously working on improving the automated processing of incoming payments and premium refunds.

Christian Christians has been Team Leader Treasury & Office Operation at AGILA since 1 October 2022 and is responsible for payment transactions, dunning and debt collection, among other things. He also heads the Occupational Safety Committee and is Data Protection Coordinator.

Pet insurer since 1994: AGILA has been there for pet owners and their four-legged friends for almost 30 years, protecting them from high, incalculable vet bills and liability claims with fast and reliable service. High sums insured and no exclusions for breed-specific illnesses ensure that four-legged friends receive the best possible medical care. In addition, AGILA cooperates with over 1,800 small animal practices and supports various charitable organizations such as vetivolution.

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