The insurance business is a funny one. Experiences for insurance professionals can range from the incredibly serious to the incredibly hilarious. The serious situations often stem from claims being made by people – in times when their business is on the line or their income threatened. Likewise, the hilarious experiences tend to come from the claims side of the business. As any claims officer will tell you, people get themselves into tremendous pickles, and it’s the job of the broker working with the claims expert to alleviate their stress by getting their claim settled. Here’s a selection of some of the weirdest claims that have been received by brokers over the years.

A clever lawyer bought a pack of cigars and had them insured against all sorts of catastrophes including flood, storm, and of course fire. A few months later he filed a claim saying his cigars had all disappeared in a series of “small fires”. The insurance company correctly assumed that he had smoked them and told him that his claim would not be paid. The judge, however, forced the insurance company to pay up because they didn’t specify the type or size of fire in the contract. Needless to say, although the lawyer thought he had secured a victory, in real terms he did not because each ‘fire’ was a separate incident and the policy excess would have to be applied to each fire event, which of course left him much less chuffed!
When a bride’s dress caught on fire the future husband grabbed her and threw her into a nearby fountain. Although the wedding didn’t really go as planned, at least the insurance company was willing to dish out for the dress.

A man on vacation in Australia put in a claim on his rental car after a wild camel supposedly kicked in the door. The insurance company was understandably wary; but after video evidence was produced, they accepted his claim.

A British tourist in Athens ended up running his hire car into a bus shelter after supposedly being distracted by a group of females. In spite of his embarrassing mistake, the travel insurance company still covered his hospital bill.

A claimant had collided with a cow. The questions and answers on the claim form were:

Question: What warning was given by you?
Answer: Horn.

Question: What warning was given by the other party?
Answer: Moo.

People were falling off their chairs laughing when British travel agency Club Direct began issuing policies to cover injuries caused by falling coconuts. Their managing director cited statistics which show that 150 people – or ten times the number of victims from shark attacks – are killed every year by falling coconuts. There was some perception that perhaps the manager had been struck on the head himself. That same year in Sri Lanka, a Club Direct customer was calmly sitting under a palm tree reading a book when a coconut fell on her head, knocking her out cold. She was duly hospitalized. Lucky. The insurance company paid the claim in full.

A claimant was driving home from Christmas shopping when he saw a car coming the other way with a Christmas tree badly tied to its roof. This must have been a split second observation: no sooner had he seen it than the tree launched itself straight at him. “He was driving too fast around a sharp bend and I saw the tree lift off and it flew straight at me. The trunk made a great dent in my bonnet and caused me to swerve off the road into a hedge.” The claimant added: “The chap didn’t stop and he never came back for his tree, so the Police said we might as well have it. It wasn’t funny at the time, but looking back it was like a comedy sketch!” Nice. The insurance company paid all the damages – and the man received a free Christmas tree for the festive season.

Honesty is always the best policy when it comes to making an insurance claim. A homeowner lodged a claim for a broken toilet pan. In his description of how the damage occurred, he stated that he was standing on the pan looking out the toilet window to see who was attending a barbeque in his neighbour’s yard. Embarrassing yes, but his honesty in relaying the facts meant the insurance company did not hesitate in paying the claim.