When it comes to insurance policies, we the people usually have in mind house insurance, car, health, and life insurance even. Reading somewhere in a newspaper or a fictional crime / thriller book that some people burnt down their own homes to collect the money, or that some ruthless relatives committed murder in order to claim benefits from someone’s life insurance is not new or very bizarre anymore, as people have been convicted for crimes far less meaningful, even if they were guilty or not. Some of the most weird insurance claims have made the holy grail of attorneys, insurance companies and journalists from the dawn of time. Nothing out of the ordinary here.
On the other hand, we, the people, find it amusing and strange to read in magazines that some celebrities insured their legs, faces, bottoms, and this is not so strange either if you come to think of it. Celebrities are weird anyway, right? In order to prove that, back in 2010, Business Insider published a list of the 15 most bizarre insurance policies ever written under the tantalizing headline “And you thought insurance was dull.“
But how about when insurance is not dull, but downright frightening? How about those in between, who come up with the strangest insurance policy ideas, like signing a policy for the safety of their chest hair or the eventuality they would change their minds at the wedding altar? And while some claims are just preposterous, others are very well paid by companies such as Lloyd’s of London, which, without even being an insurance company, paid the most bizarre policies ever. So in order to better understand how insurance works, let’s see ten of the most weird insurance claims and how do they get solved.
1. The improbable, the impossible
Yes, we might think to insure our lives against accidents, improbable events, sudden death, medical procedures that might get wrong. The very definition of insurance comprises the terms “sudden” and “unexpected“. However, some people want to be sure and ensured in case of the impossible (or improbable, to be more specific) happens to mistakenly occur.
A couple in Michigan signed Lloyd’s multiple-birth insurance policy which covers the financial drawbacks in case more mouths to feed show up in the respective family. And of course, Lloyd’s covers these types of needs, as the couple in Michigan collected the first financial benefit when they had twins. What follows may be well considered an episode from the Twilight Zone TV show: the couple renewed the same insurance. And they soon had a second pair of twins. Children and money, what can you ask for more?
2. Insuring the senses
Yes, you may have heard this before, but great chefs, winemakers, perfume testers and other people who make lots of cash by using their talented noses and tongues (no pun intended) insure their precious body parts for exorbitant sums of money.
In 1957 famous food critic Egon Ronay was able to build or break a chef’s career or to rise (and destroy) a restaurant’s reputation. So because he was so famous and world-appreciated, the man insured his taste-buds for $400.000. So how can we be surprised when we hear about Costa Coffee chief taster Gennaro Pelliccia, who insured his tongue for $14 million in 2009?
Oh, and if this doesn’t convince you that most weird insurance claims are indeed a bit crazy, how about male stripper Frankie Jakeman insuring his…most masculine body part for $1.6 million?
3. There’s no insurance for character
We mentioned before the existence of people who committed crimes in order to claim insurance. According to Daily Finance
Insurance fraud drains more than $50 billion from insurers each year and costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 in the form of increased premiums, according to the FBI.
Archives in the courts of law all over the world remembers their names and their acts of barbarism, but for this list, two are worth to mention, as they did imaginable (and stupid) things.
A man from Delaware torched down his house and car, invoking the most implausible story possible that nobody could believe. Not even Hollywood comedies wouldn’t for that matter. Let’s see what Business Insider had to report via the Daily Star
(Nicholas) Di Puma tried to put the fire out with a dishrag, but the dishrag caught fire, so he took one pan and threw it out the front door, where it landed in the backseat of the convertible. He then took the second pan and was going to throw it out, but tripped over a box, and the pan landed on a leather couch, igniting it. Di Puma ran outside to get two hoses, but there was only one there, so he attempted to put out the fire in the convertible, according to the report.
So when he was cornered and faced the evidence, he confessed and pleaded guilty for insurance fraud.
The other example (and this one is incredible by its brutality) involves a man who killed his mother and torched the house for something a little over $700.000. Of course he is now in a Federal Prison for more than one lifetime.
4. Other… body parts
An article published by Publications International Ltd. tells the story of world-known cricketer Merv Hughes, who proudly played for the national team of Australia almost ten years in a row. The man had an impossible to miss physique and a walrus type mustache he managed to insure for $370,000. He was a very good player and nobody could mistake him for somebody else, while his mustache became a trademark. So why not insure it?
Speaking of famous body parts and distinctive personal features, let’s give a round of applause to:
Heidi Klum’s Legs: $2.2 million
“Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera’s smile: $10 million
NFL star Troy Polamalu’s locks: $1 million
5. Skills with a name attached to them
What would David Beckham be without his golden legs? What would Bruce Springsteen be without his voice and who would even consider Michael Flatley as an artist, if he couldn’t perform?
This is that special category of celebrity artists, athletes and actors getting huge insurance policies for those special abilities which made them famous. As Jay MacDonald from Bankrate.com comments
notable body-parts policies include soccer star David Beckham’s $70 million legs, Bruce Springsteen’s $6 million voice, “Lord of the Dance” Michael Flatley’s $47 million lower half and Kiss front man Gene Simmons’ $1 million tongue.
They are, of course, covered by Lloyd’s and other companies.
6. The Runaway Bride
Don’t get too excited about this. To close an insurance policy for changing your mind at the altar is just a movie scheme. In reality, since the nineties, there are companies which allow the future to be bride and groom to get cold feet and cancel the wedding. However, the wedding should be called off at least 180 days in advance, if not more.
Or so Fireman’s Fund wedding cancellation policy states. This looks fine from the outside, but from the inside, the only ones who get some financial comfort out of the wedding cancellation are probably the parents, labeled as “innocent party financiers.” If the couple paid for the whole event and one of them changes his or her mind, no insurance, no money. Some responsibilities just have to be assumed!
7. Lost objects in dark places
Some people insure goods against robbery, vandalism, loss even, but how about losing your cell phone inside your cow’s derriere? Or in yours?
A farmer from U.K. claimed his cell phone insurance policy after accidentally loosing it inside his cow. Yes, laugh all the way, but the man didn’t have any perverted thoughts crossing his mind, he was just using his cell’s flashlight to help the cow give birth. The phone was recovered some days later, of course, in a state of no-use. Apparently, the insurers felt sorry about the man and his cow and paid the claim.
HERE is one of the most funny compilations of cell phones insurance claims in the U.K. So it would be better to leave your most precious and valuable smartphones aside before baking cakes or re-enacting movie scenes in case you don’t want to end up on some list of most weird insurance claims in the past decade!
8. Insurance goes Hollywood
Who else but Lloyd’s would insure Hollywood superstars? From Betty Grable’s legs in the forties to the more recent jewelry coverage, Lloyd’s and Hollywood made a good team. In 2004 the company issued a policy of $38 million dollars for the combined jewelry of the Oscar Ceremony’s guests, while it still insures everything related to the Oscars, from terrorist attacks to the sudden coming of the Apocalypse.
Joking about the Apocalypse, but not the terrorists or anything that sparkles during the event. Famous for insuring in the 1900 some moviegoers against sudden death from laughing too hard at the movies, Lloyd’s is Hollywood’s best friend in case of disasters. Or chocking on the cocktails or something.
9. Ratatouille deserves better
Restaurant fraud is not new either. Come on, didn’t you see those movies where some daring teenagers put a fly in their soup just to ask for a refund or something? It’s an old scam but the present policies are not only newer, but smarter
Let’s take Carla Patterson, a case quite well documented by Bankrate.com. This lady accused chain restaurant Virginia Cracker Barrel that they were so negligent and so miserable, that she found a mouse in her vegetable soup, claiming half million dollars to compensate her shock and terror.
Lately, restaurant owners and especially chain restaurants don’t get fooled by such cons, as they are aware of the consequences. So investigations dug so deep, they even concluded the mouse was brought from the outside. The woman was sentenced a year in prison and made both public food providers and insurance companies to be very careful and attentive with each claim.
10. This is it!
Back to Lloyd’s of London who, obviously, insured superstar Michael Jackson’s “This is it tour” against failure. The policy Jackson signed was worth $17.5 million and Lloyd’s is suing, this time not wanting to pay because they claimed deception, if not even fraud. Michael Jackson’s allegedly official death is of overdose, while Lloyd’s claim there was nothing of the sort – related to medication or drug use – disclosed in the policy the artist completed, so from the company’s point of view, the policy is invalid.
According to recent news, Michael Jackson Company is suing Lloyd’s for not paying the insured amount of money, so apparently this is going to keep on going for a while.
The Insurance Against Alien Abduction
According to Burkhart Agency Insurance
St. Lawrence Agency in Altamonte Springs, Florida was the first to offer alien abduction insurance, and, since then, several other insurance companies have followed suit.
Now this may still require some thorough research, but some people say that the St. Lawrence Agency has paid out two claims in its 23-year history – both in New York State. It is true that some of us really have a thing for paranormal phenomena and supernatural manifestations, but others have quite the phobia.
If we are to believe The Telegraph, Lloyd’s of London has some great competitors when it comes to some of the most weird insurance claims. Listen to this:
In 2001 a “Captain Beaney” insured himself against abduction, impregnation and consumption by aliens for £1m.
Isn’t that something?
Now we hope you liked our list of most weird insurance claims and policies and the ways they got solved. There are tons of information on dumb claims and horrific crimes done in the name of money, but you can tell us what was your favorite case from this list. Did you ever made an insurance claim? For what….?