Spring is here and the ticks are out: Sber updates its Tick Protection program

Apr 12, 2021

Many regions of Russia are now seeing mean temperatures of +2-4 C, which means that ticks are emerging from hibernation. On average over the past decade, 500,000 Russians per year seek medical assistance for tick bites. Sberbank subsidiary Sberbank insurance learned that in the regions, where this issue is particularly acute, up to a third of residents are prepared to insure themselves against unpleasant consequences.

Ticks usually hit peak activity in May and June, but they appear in the early spring as soon as temperatures rise above zero. Ticks, which transmit dozens of infectious diseases, including the highly dangerous tick-borne encephalitis and Lyme disease, can be found virtually across the whole of Russia. They are especially prevalent in the Northwest of Russia, beyond the Urals, and in Siberia.

Anyone could come across a tick. People who enjoy walks in the park or the forest or often head out to their summer house are particularly at risk. The highest numbers of tick bites are recorded in Novosibirsk and Tomsk: 10% of the inhabitants of these cities mention ticks biting one of their friends or family members. Sberbank insurance received these responses as part of a study conducted in 2021 in Russian cities with a population of over 250,000.

According to the study, nine percent of people living in Kemerovo and Krasnoyarsk have heard of tick bites among their acquaintances. In Nizhny Tagil, Novokuznetsk, Yekaterinburg, and Cherepovets, eight percent are aware of such cases, with seven percent in Barnaul, Vologda, Tyumen, and Kirov aware of acquaintances who have suffered tick bites, and four percent in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

In regions with a particularly high risk of disease setting in after a tick bite, over a third of residents are prepared to consider taking out a tick protection insurance policy. Up to 39% of the population of Kostroma, 35% in Novosibirsk, 34% in Yaroslavl, and 29% in Tomsk and Irkutsk are willing to take out a policy. Demand for insurance against tick bites has also risen in Krasnoyarsk (27%), Kirov (26%), Barnaul (23%), Chelyabinsk (28%), Petrozavodsk (18%), Magnitogorsk (13%), Izhevsk (13%), and Khabarovsk (10%).

Every year over 2,300 cases of tick-borne encephalitis and over 7,300 cases of Lyme disease are detected in Russia. These are dangerous diseases that take a lot of time and money to treat, and all Russians are at risk of coming into contact with them. This boosts demand for insurance against tick bites. In 2020, the number of related policies sold by Sberbank insurance doubled compared to 2019. This year, we have improved the Tick Protection program by increasing the insurance amount to RUB 1.5 mn, making the product accessible to people of all ages, and diversifying the policy cost depending on the region. The program is now also available to companies and sole proprietors. Clients can also insure their pets against tick bites through the Pet Under Protection policy. Many people’s cats and dogs spend their summers at their owners’ country houses and are at greater risk than their owners.

Katrin Soomre

Director, Protective Insurance Products and Services, Sberbank

The Tick Protection program covers emergency medical assistance and hospitalization, outpatient care, an examination by a doctor, tick removal on an outpatient basis, laboratory analysis of the tick for viral testing, screening for tick-borne encephalitis, Lyme disease, and ten other diseases, treatment if necessary, and recovery after illness. The policy is valid for one year and includes reimbursement of the cost of a number of medications. Up to six people of any age can be insured under one policy. When more than four people are insured under one policy, there is a discount of 10%. The Tick Protection policy starts at RUB 180, with prices depending on the region of insurance. Policies can be applied for remotely via the SberBank Online mobile app or on the Sberbank insurance website. They can also now be taken out in SberBank branches in Altai, Irkutsk, Kemerovo, Novosibirsk, and Tomsk regions, as well as in Krasnoyarsk Krai. Clients can take out Tick Protection policies at bank branches nationwide until the end of April.