A snake bite, gunpoint robbery and wheelchair pool accident were just some of the unusual travel claims made to insurer Southern Cross this year.

The country's largest health insurer has released a fact sheet of claims and health statistics for the six months to September.

It covered 206,217 New Zealand travellers during this time including a Kiwi who was bitten by snake in America requiring hospital treating and an expensive anti-venom resulting in a $272,000 claim.

Another Kiwi who was holidaying in the Pacific had to get an electric wheelchair after injuring themselves only to then fall in the pool at their resort writing off the wheelchair in the process.


Meanwhile, an Australian customer was robbed at gunpoint in South America while unloading their luggage from a taxi.

The robber then stole the taxi with the luggage inside resulting in a $4717 payout.

The insurer also released details of unusual pet insurance claims during the period which included a Labrador retriever eating a blanket which then had to be removed via surgery and a beagle which had renal failure after eating a fruitcake due to raisin toxicity.

Dogs were more likely to be insured than cats with 67 per cent of the 28,447 pets insured made up of the K9 variety and 33 per cent feline.

The health insurance part of the business which has 870,263 members paid out $561.1 million in claims for the period.

Spinal fusions resulted in the top three highest claims by cost ranging between $169,723 and $211,978 while skin lesion excisions were the most common surgical procedure claimed for.

The insurer also had 1.45 million visits to its online medical library with the most sought out topic being tonsillitis, followed by bronchitis and strep throat.

The youngest patient which received treatment at one of its hospitals was three months old while the oldest was 100 years old.