Top 15 Most Expensive Insurance Claims
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Top 15 Most Expensive Insurance Claims

Top 15 Most Expensive Insurance Claims

An insurance claim is basically a formal request given to the insurance company asking them for a payment that is based on terms of a given insurance policy. The insurance claim is reviewed by the insurance company for its’ validity and then is paid out to that insured person or the requesting party once it’s approved. Today, the insurance world might strike some of us as some sort of a bland, not too distant cousin of that dull world of accounts, but there is far more of much interest than actually meets the eye. A simple online search on accident claims or insurance claims will reveal a plethora of websites which are offering legal services which will help you get the highest returns on your misfortunes or accidents, and there are also various videos clips and other articles advising web users on how to best develop your insurance claim so as to receive a much bigger payout. This phenomenon of profiting or benefiting from misfortunes is not exactly new; the British insurer Aviva, has many such clients who some included Sir. Winston Churchill. Generally, the insurance claims range from truly tragic to frankly bizarre; they can range from compensation for some injuries sustained after slipping on marble floor which surrounds a luxury bath, to far grimmer prospects of compensating many victims of a large scale and genuinely cataclysmic disaster or tragedy. While the insurance world is designed to compensate the victims of misfortunes and accidents, there are always opportunists who seek to exploit this system for their very own benefit. To some, this may mean elaborating on the existing injury or accident, however, there are some others who’re ready to go the extra mile in order to get the insurance claim.

Say for example, Hardin Gerald in South Carolina; He concocted some plan to saw/cut off his friend’s hand so as to claim $670,000 compensation which was up for grab from the insurance company in the year 2008. Also there was a Canadian cyclist, who decided to stick a tooth pick up his own nose in order to cause bleeding and then he asked his then girlfriend to run over him with the car in order to claim a $22,000 insurance payout. Unsurprisingly, in both of these cases, falsity of the insurance claims got discovered and compensation was denied.

Top 15 Most Expensive Insurance Claims

The insurance business may mean big cash for both the insurers and claimants, & a keen look at certain scandalously big insurance claims may provide an interesting view or perspective in the field of protecting ourselves when it comes to life’s unpredictable turns and twists. With that in mind, lets look at the top 15 most expensive insurance claims.

15. Most Expensive Pet

This is an insurance claim where there are more general losses which exceed the overall outlay but this most expensive pet insurance claim rose to $22,000 in the year 2010. The insurance claim was for a feline renal surgery. It was not, as most would expect, for the pedigree show cat. That pet was just a simple humble, hybrid ‘moggy’.

14. Rowan Atkinson

Famed for his roles as an outlandish comic character known as Mr Bean, Rowan Atkinson made history in UK for the most expensive auto insurance claim to ever be recorded. Rowan Atkinson sustained some minor shoulder injury when he crashed his sports car (a McLaren) after it hit some icy patches on a road in the UK. The vehicle – which Mr. Bean had purchased in the year 1997 for a relatively modest figure/amount of about $1.05 million, had gone through many previous wars before with Rowan Atkinson, the owner. As a matter of fact, that was the 2nd time Rowan had crashed his sports car. Atkinson’s crash makes the list not just because of the huge pay out, despite the minor injury, but mainly because it goes into history as one of the biggest Auto insurance claims in UK, 3 times bigger than previous record (£310,000 claim).

13.Prototype Testing

While this insurance claim might be exceeded in costs by many natural tragedies, it is worth noting it as the single highest car insurance claim in history. In the year 2007, engineers crashed 2 Bugatti Veyron cars during a prototype testing. The details and the costs have all been shrouded in a mysterious cloud but both of the cars were valued at about $800,000, the insurance claims undoubtedly made this the most expensive or highest recorded vehicle loss ever.

12.Slip and Fall

A slip n’ fall on the ice is one unfortunate yet regular experience for many people during winter months, however for a certain claimant in Virginia, this type of fall was quite serious. In the year 2012, the claimant or rather the victim in question broke many of his leg bones when he was leaving the apartment and happened to slip on the ice that was on the driveway. The victim later developed some serious complications which stemmed from the injuries which were sustained from the slip and fall incident and these complications risked him getting his lower legs amputated. The treatment had further complications since the victim was also diabetic. The claim was settled for a huge sum because it was said that the landlord or property owner did not remove any of the fallen snow from the driveway or even treat the places which had ice with sand or salt, as is required by the law. The victim got a compensation of $7.75 Million. The $7.75 million settlement is certainly a warning to all careless landlords especially in the winter season.

11.Car Accident

In the year 2012 there was a lawsuit in London (United Kingdom) which was settled for £23 million (which is approximately, over $37 million), for Agnes Collier,  a 17yr old student who got severely paralyzed as a result of a head on collision with a car, that also lead to the death of her mother. Agnes received a sum of about $11.5 million plus a yearly payment to cover the medical costs. The $37 million is an estimated amount which Agnes will have received throughout her lifetime. Despite the tragic accident, Agnes appears to have made great progress in her life, and she has had some motor functions return to her hands. She hopes to further her studies at either Cambridge or Oxford.

10.China’s SARS outbreak

Historically, most of world’s largest insurance claims usually relate to epidemics and natural disasters. In regards to epidemics, the SARS outbreak in the year 2003 resulted into the largest payout of all insurance claims. The SARS epidemic started in Guangdong province of China but it spread to over 37 other countries in a matter of a few weeks. Once again, the pay outs for the loss of lives were supplemented basically by travel cancellations and business interruptions which led to the total claims costs reaching $1 billion.

9.Indian Ocean Earthquake and Tsunami

Prior to events that occurred in Japan in the year 2011, the earthquake and the subsequent tsunami (in the year 2004) which affected many of the countries in the Indian Ocean regions, was one of the largest natural disasters when it comes to insurance claims. The areas that were hit and the loss of lives resulted in a set of insurance claims which some people suggest may have exceeded $1 billion.

8.Volcanic Eruption

In the year 2010, Iceland’s most costly volcanic eruption happened. In the spring of that same year, “Eyjafjallajokull” erupted and luckily, no one was injured, however, it still cost EU over €2.5 billion (that is over $3.4 billion), according to EU Transport Commission. This volcanic eruption released massive ash clouds which drifted south towards the Atlantic and Europe causing hundreds of flights to get cancelled and rendering over ten million passengers in different places, stranded for a couple of weeks. Considering the cash due in the compensation claims from landlocked travelers, and also the revenue that was lost by the airlines and hotel industry as a result of the volcanic eruption, about €2.5 billion got paid out as result of Eyjafjallajokull volcanic eruption. This volcanic eruption also caused domino effects on EU’s economy: It created a no fly zone over significantly much of Europe, which impacted many international airlines based in Asia and the US. Global prices of airline fuels also dropped as a result of flights getting grounded, a factor that’s not included in EU’s estimate.

7.North East Blackout (also known as US/Canada Power Outage)

Surely a power outage could not make it to a list about the top most expensive insurance claims? Well, it actually can if it highly affects a large enough area, and that’s exactly what occurred in the year 2003. In about seven hours, ten million people living in Canada, and 45 million living in eight states in US, all suffered a severe widespread power outage also known as a blackout. Overall costs of the power outage was at $6 billion. While there are some conflicting estimates on the insurance claim cost, it’s widely acknowledged that the payout for the grounded flights, looting, business interruptions and other such problems, puts this incident firmly on this list.

6.Chinese Earthquake

China was hit by a huge earthquake in the year 2008. It was one of the most notable natural disasters to ever happen in China’s long history of earthquakes and natural disasters. The death toll is said to have reached about 68,000 and  left millions of  the Chinese population homeless. However, while the overall loss reaching up to $20 billion, most of these weren’t covered by the insurance companies simply because some were either caused by certain uninsurable factors or were cases where some home owners hadn’t taken out any insurance cover.

5.The Japanese Tsunami

The Japanese Tsunami of the year 2011 is eleventh in the list. It has an estimated total cost of about $40 billion while some others suggest that the insured losses, if combined, could have exceed $100 billion.


While the devastating loss of lives was way beyond measure, terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11th of the year 2001 (which included destruction of the New York Twin Towers) will arguably remain one of the single top most expensive insurance claim incidents in the history of mankind. In basic financial terms, more than $40 billion got paid out (which included claims for business interruptions, property damages, life insurances and many others.

3.Lehman Brothers

Lehman Brothers
Some claims are rather difficult to put in an order of costs since the insurance companies usually classify this kind of information as ‘very confidential’. Financial crisis which was spurred by collapse of the Lehman Brothers and some others in the year 2008 is one such example. Many claim that the overall insured loss can exceed $100 billion, however that’s difficult to prove.

2.2005 Hurricane Season

The hurricanes that occur in North America may cost the insurance companies millions of money each and every year but no one could have ever foretold the disastrous and the highly catastrophic events which happened in the year 2005. Three major hurricanes; Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita, struck causing a death toll of over 4000 and an overall cost of $130 billion. The United States was heavily criticized for its’ slow response time to the disasters that occurred in New Orleans and various other storm ravaged areas. This huge estimate of about $130 billion in terms of insurance payouts basically comes from costs of the damages to the homes and the places of business and compensation for the personal injuries and the fatalities. Of course, costs of such widespread devastation is basically spread across many different claims and cases.

1.The Financial Crisis

In the year 2008, Britain and various other countries were majorly hit by one on the worst financial crisis to happen since “The Great Depression” which occurred in the 1930’s. As a result of the financial crisis, many businesses fell and bust and the unemployment rate hit an all time high. Surely some of the hardest hit sectors, were insurance companies. They were forced to actually hand out insurance claims which are estimated at about £14 trillion.

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