BTA: Latvian travellers in exotic countries get bitten by monkeys, snakes and other animals


As the overall economic situation improves, travellers from Latvia increasingly often prefer to go for hunting some sun to various remote and exotic destinations during winter months. And, according to BTA Baltic Insurance Company AAS (BTA) data, personal accidents occurring to travellers sometimes are as exotic as their destinations. Inhabitants of Latvia, while in southern countries, have got bitten by monkeys, snakes and other animals, as well as stung by medusas, scorched by the sun and incurred various injuries. Although the absolute majority – 64 % of travel insurance claim cases in the winter period are related to virus and infectious diseases, according to BTA data.


Travellers should be careful when visiting exotic destinations and getting acquainted with nature and animals there. For instance, last year BTA customers have got bitten by monkeys in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, and the injured persons were rendered medical aid and they got vaccinated against rabies. Sometimes travellers also get bitten by other animals and reptiles, for instance, in the United States of America a BTA customer got bitten by a beaver, a woman in Turkey got injured by a lizard, and there have been a number of cases when travellers had to be treated against snake bites. While those, who enjoy relaxing by water in the sub-tropical climate zone, should watch out for jellyfish and sea urchins, causing injuries and severe burns to a number of holidaymakers each year.


Travellers happen to sustain injuries through carelessness, they also inflict losses to others, for instance, a customer of BTA in a Cabo Verde hotel café accidentally knocked onto a table with dishes, smashing them. This accident caused losses to the hotel, which were indemnified by BTA, as the customer had also included third party liability insurance risk in his travel insurance policy, protecting travellers against various losses that may be caused to another person or property of another person.


“Our experience tells us that health problems or unexpected changes in the travel plan can also mean very substantial financial losses. For instance, last year a lady, a customer of ours, was enjoying Egypt when an acute spinal surgery was required, the costs of which of nearly 10,000 euros were covered by BTA under travel insurance, while medical treatment, also in Egypt, to a gentleman, who required medical assistance due to severe abdominal pain, cost 7,300 euros. Particularly careful when travelling to exotic countries should be pregnant women and families with small children, who often are victims of sunstroke and infectious diseases,” says Iveta Rijniece, Director of BTA Insurance Claims Handling Department.


According to BTA data for winter seasons of this and the previous year, most often various troubles and health problems to travellers from Latvia have occurred while visiting Egypt (24 %), Thailand (17 %) and Spain (13 %). Relatively often misfortunes have troubled travellers visiting Germany, the USA and Austria. BTA customers have not been spared of injuries and illnesses also when visiting neighbouring countries. A man, for instance, has been walking across the frozen bay of Pērnava, as the ice had broken and the man had fallen into water, and rescue assistance was required. Unfortunately various illnesses and injuries have not spared foreign visitors of Latvia as well. For the major part, travellers in Latvia have sustained various injuries in regular life conditions, although a visitor had been bitten by a snake in coastal dunes.


“When planning trips, especially to exotic countries, it is highly advisable to study the available information about the destination, its climate, circumstances and potential risks. Besides, it is also very important to make a timely purchase of a policy – at least five days before the departure day for the trip – to be protected against risks that might arise in case the planned trip had to be cancelled due to unexpected circumstances, which, in the light of the current security situation in the world is quite on an issue,”  emphasizes I.Rijniece.


The director of Begonija travel agency Mr. Genādijs Gondelmans also supports the statement that this winter the demand for trips to farther and more exotic destinations has gone up, so there is hardly any wonder that many personal accidents occur in southern countries: In the winter season, people having lower travel budget prefer to go to resorts in Egypt and Canary Islands, although constantly rising is the number of tourists is selecting South Asia as place to have rest, for instance, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, the Caribbean, visiting Cuba, Mexico and Dominican, and increasingly often travellers go to Arab Emirates and Maldives. But, the number of usual skiing trips also have a stable upward tendency each year.”


Most often, in 64 % of cases in winter seasons of last year and this year, BTA has received insurance claims from travellers for medical expenses – various illnesses, injuries and related medical treatment. Of all cases, when people were in need for medical aid while travelling in winter months, in 60 % of cases the cause had been various illnesses, in 25 % of cases – consequences of carelessness of all sorts or injuries sustained due to some other reasons and in 12 % of cases, injuries were due to personal accidents while skiing or snowboarding. The average insurance indemnity disbursed by BTA this winter for a single case of illness abroad is nearly 400 euros.


By the number of reported insurance claims, traveller problems with luggage come second by 20 % of all travel insurance claims received by BTA, third place is claims regarding delayed or cancelled flights (8 %), then followed by claims regarding emergency dentistry services (6 %).


Average amount of indemnity for a cancelled trip disbursed by BTA has doubled


The largest losses are caused by trips, cancelled for a variety of reasons, besides, comparing January of this year to the same period in 2016, the average amount of indemnity disbursed by BTA for such cases has nearly doubled, which can be explained by people’s increased affordability of purchasing yet more expensive trips. The average insurance indemnity disbursed by BTA for a cancelled trip for one person is nearly 700 euros.



About BTA

BTA Baltic Insurance Company AAS (hereinafter – BTA) is a leading insurance company in the Baltic States, providing all types of non-life insurance services in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. BTA also is a largest insurance indemnity payer in the Baltic region – disbursed nearly 304 thousand euros in insurance indemnities on average each business day in 2016, or approximately 38 thousand euros each business hour.

The largest shareholder of BTA is Vienna Insurance Group AG, one of the leading insurers in Europe. The group with a solid brand operates more than 50 companies in 25 countries, 190 year experience in the insurance field and close cooperation with customers. VIG employs 23,000 employees and is a clear leader in its core markets. VIG is a group with the best rating of all companies in the ATX, the leading index of the Vienna Stock Exchange, with a secondary listing on the Prague Stock Exchange.



More information:
Agnese Grīnberga
Public Relations Manager
BTA Baltic Insurance Company AAS
e-mail agnese.grinberga@bta.lv
Phone: +371 67025661, mobile: +371 27828796