Monday, 12 November 2007

Let this be a lesson to you!

One of the issues that has blighted the insurance industry ever since Adam was a lad is that of fraudulent claims. Some classes of insurance, particularly travel insurance and home insurance suffer from a significant number of people trying to claim what is not rightfully theirs. There does seem to be aview that insurance can be treated as some kind of savings plan - there to be drawn upon when times are hard.

And the problem is, of course, that its the honest people who end up paying for the fraud through increased premiums.

That said, I did like this chaps ingenuity.

A bloke from Charlotte, North Carolina purchased a box of 24 rare and very expensive cigars. Wishing to protect his investment then, the man decided to insure the collection.

Against... fire.

Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of fabulous cigars, and having yet to make a single premium payment on the policy, the man decided to make a claim against the insurance company.

In his claim, the man stated that he had lost the cigars in "a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in a normal fashion. The man sued, and guess what?

Yep - he won.

In delivering his ruling, the judge stated that the man held a policy from the company in which it was warranted that the cigars were insurable. The company, in the policy, had also guaranteed that it would insure the cigars against fire, without defining what it considered to be "unacceptable fire," and so, the company was obliged to compensate the insured for his loss. Rather than endure a lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the judge's ruling and paid the man $15,000 for the rare cigars he had lost in "the fires."

However, shortly after the man cashed his cheque, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson. With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case used as evidence against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning the rare cigars and sentenced to 24 consecutive one-year prison terms.

It could only happen in America!

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