Unfortunate encounters with animals were the cause of some of the more unusual claims paid by Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) in the past year.
SCTI has released its annual round up of animal-related claims, with travellers reporting encounters with lions, seals, rats, buffalo and other animals while holidaying around the world.
One example that came across the claims desk at SCTI was from Daniel Kieser. He was in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve in Botswana capturing wildlife photography when a lion took a liking to his motion sensor camera.
“I place motion sensor cameras around my camp to get shots of animals moving around in the night. I’d tied a camera to a tree near a water hole by my tent and woke up to find it had been demolished.”
This isn’t the first time a big cat has taken a liking to Daniel’s cameras - on a previous trip another motion sensor camera was mistaken as a meal and chewed on by a leopard.
Thankfully the chip survived along with shots of the leopard in action.
“This time I was mainly disappointed that I didn’t get the chip back,” says Daniel.
Craig Morrison, SCTI CEO, says they see a wide range of animal claims.
One customer was bitten by a seal at a colony while holidaying in Namibia, requiring a visit to the doctor, while another hit a buffalo while driving in a Sri Lankan street at night, requiring a trip to the local hospital.
“We’ve also recently had a claim from a customer who had a suitcase and clothing destroyed by a rat trying to get at their lunch while they were on safari in Africa, and another who was badly stung by jellyfish in Malaysia - which goes to show it’s not just the big animals you need to watch out for,” says Morrison.
While the above claims were all for relatively small amounts, the inconvenience, gear replacement and medical bills are all unwelcome distractions while on holiday.
“Travel is about new experiences and being a part of your surroundings, but it never hurts to be a little wary. In New Zealand we’re not used to dealing with some of the more unusual wildlife, so it pays to remember wild animals have teeth, horns and claws and require respect.”