In October 2023, MediPet, South Africa's leading pet insurance provider, marked a remarkable milestone – 16 years of unwavering dedication to pet owners, their cherished furry companions, and the veterinary community. This journey is not just about business success – it's a heart-warming story of resilience, compassion, and the triumph of women-led leadership of an all-women team.
Louise Griffiths, the visionary founder and heart behind MediPet, reflects on the journey she embarked upon more than a decade and a half ago: “After returning from the UK with qualifications as a veterinary nurse, and valuable experience in general practice and referral centres, I was deeply moved by the financial struggles pet owners faced when making critical decisions regarding their pets' health. This concern, along with a determination to make a difference ignited the spark that led to the creation of MediPet.”
MediPet was born out of a mission to bring cutting-edge pet insurance cover to South Africa, a place where the concept of pet insurance was originally met with scepticism and challenges. “Unlike countries with a health insurance mentality, South Africa predominantly leans towards medical aid, which remains one of the most significant hurdles in the journey of this extraordinary company,” explains Griffiths.
“In the early days I wore multiple hats; every week I was travelling to a different part of the country, presenting to vets, attending dog and cat events – feet on the ground, all the while still processing claims and managing every aspect of the company. I have always had an amazing team supporting me – back then it was just three women. As we expanded and there was significant growth, operations had to change. I needed to delegate more responsibility, and to trust my team to become more efficient. I also had to consciously not lose sight of my ‘why?’. Nicole Finlay, my COO, is my right-hand woman. She shares the same values and ethics, and the whole company culture and values remain strong in aligning with our mission.”
MediPet is now 26-women strong. Griffiths says her team are the cogs that keep the wheel turning and has the utmost respect for her team. “Being positive and encouraging, while empowering our team is vital. Appreciation of hard work and dedication and always being approachable, is important to gain respect and loyalty.”
Through Griffiths' leadership and her amazing team's dedication, adaptability, and resilience, MediPet not only overcame challenges but also thrived.
Even the Covid-19 pandemic, which had far-reaching impacts on businesses globally, saw MediPet's claims and membership grow. “Pet owners spent more time bonding with their pets, resulting in increased awareness of their health. Those who lost their income realised the importance of having pet insurance more than ever, as they could not afford significant vet bills during uncertain times.”
MediPet's commitment to its mission is a testament to Griffiths’ leadership as she firmly believes in putting pets first. The company's culture and values are embodied by its exceptional team of women who know their members and their pets on a first-name basis, and always go above and beyond to support them. MediPet's approach allows vets to provide the best possible care without cost implications for pet owners.
Says Dr Leanne Kleynhans, a vet from Broederstroom: “MediPet has been the most fantastic pet medical insurance I have worked with in my 13 years as a vet. They have been a big blessing to many of my patients allowing them to get the care they need. After experiencing their help with many patients along the way I have even put my own dogs onto MediPet – they were the natural first choice when I wanted medical insurance for my own pups. In our current economy, one cannot afford to be without pet medical insurance if you want the best treatment for your pet.”
The pet insurance industry has evolved significantly, becoming saturated with corporate insurers focused on finances rather than veterinary expertise and compassion. Despite these changes, MediPet stands out with its comprehensive cover, in-house all-women vet team, and customer-centric approach. “Many members have been loyal to MediPet since its inception, which speaks volumes about the trust and respect the company has earned.
“As we look ahead to the next 16 years, the future promises exciting developments. The pet insurance industry is evolving, driven by advancements in veterinary medicine, a growing trend in wellness and preventative care, and a more personalised, customised approach to cover design. Collaboration with other pet-related industries and the integration of AI and systems-driven solutions will continue to shape the industry. However, at the core of MediPet's future plans remains the unwavering commitment to pet owners and their furry companions,” says Griffiths.
Her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, especially women who may suffer from imposter syndrome: "Be confident in your journey and your dream, never give up, knowledge is power, and you are powerful! Stay passionate and trust your intuition, be purpose-driven, work hard, and embrace opportunities!"
MediPet's journey is far from over, and as Griffiths aptly puts it: "Hold onto your seats, there is an incredible ride ahead. Watch this space!" It's a story of triumph, compassion, and a brighter future for pet owners and their beloved pets.
MediPet is an authorised Financial Services Provider FSP 32613 underwritten by Renasa non-life insurer.