Number 1: Bizarre Insurance Claims
Isabel Parker, the 72-year-old queen of the slip-and-fall scam, fell in department stores, supermarkets and liquor stores 49 times during her long career. She filed 49 bizarre insurance claims.
Prosecutors said that she treated insurance claims like her job and she kept very very busy. The woman filed a total of 49 bogus personal injury claims in Philadelphia, Delaware County and New Jersey. She collected $500, 115 between 1993 and 2000. She pleaded guilty to 29 counts of insurance fraud. The result was a four year sentence under house arrest.
Number 2: Bizarre Insurance Claims
Carla Patterson tried to tap a Virginia Cracker Barrel restaurant for a $500,000 insurance settlement. She ‘discovered’ a mouse in her vegetable soup on Mother’s Day. The national chain investigated further. They found that the mouse had no soup in its lungs. It had therefore not been cooked.
The jury believed that the only way the mouse could have appeared in the soup is if she had put it there. The result was a one year prison sentence for conspiracy to commit extortion.
Number 3: Bizarre Insurance Claims
A man from Delaware torched his own home and his own convertible. He tried to collect on his homeowners and auto insurance. Nicholas Di Puma said it all started when pans on his wood stove ignited while he was cooking. Then buckets of coal caught on fire. After trying to extinguish the inferno, Di Puma said he threw the first bucket out the door. It apparently landed in the back seat of his convertible. While en route to tossing the second pan outside, he tripped and the second landed on the sofa. Unbelievable? That’s what local law enforcement thought too. Di Puma pleaded guilty to second and third degree attempted insurance fraud. The result: Five years probation, no insurance benefits. Home and car completely destroyed.
Number 4: Bizarre Insurance Claims
Some wedding days just don’t turn out the way you expect. Everything seemed to be going well on the day for Paula Catelli from Rimini, Italy. Then her beautiful, hand-made wedding dress came slightly too close to the barbecue. The synthetic material went up in flames immediately. Within moments Catelli was what no girl on her wedding day ever wants to be – a bride on fire.
Her loving husband saved the day by picking her up and throwing her into the sea. Fortunately both bride and groom were excellent swimmers. The result: The insurance company paid out 50% compensation for the disaster; possibly out of sympathy.
Number 5: Bizarre Insurance Claims
High living had left Chicago grain futures executive Marc Thompson deeply in debt. In desperation, he torched his home for the $730,000 in insurance money. To make it appear a suicide, he led his 90 year old mother Carmen downstairs. He then doused the basement with accelerant and tossed the match. Carmen Thompson’s August 11, 2002 death by carbon monoxide poisoning and smoke inhalation must have seemed the perfect alibi. But federal agents continued to investigate the fire. The truth emerged. The result: No insurance pay out and 190 years in a federal prison.
Number 6: Bizarre Insurance Claims
A lawyer from North Carolina purchased a box of expensive cigars. He insured them against flooding, storm damage and fire. Needless to say, his investment went up in smoke within a month. The lawyer filed a claim with his homeowners insurance company. He stated that he was owed compensation because “the cigars were lost in a series of small fires”. The insurers refused to pay, assuming that the man had smoked the pack himself. A judge ruled however, that since the insurer had never stated what was considered to be “unacceptable” fire, the company did in fact owe him $15,000 to replace his property.
The result: The insurance company paid the claim. They then had the lawyer arrested. He was sentenced to 24 months in jail. He received a $24,000 fine for 24 counts of arson and insurance fraud.
Number 7: Bizarre Insurance Claims
British travel agency Club Direct began issuing policies to cover injuries caused by falling coconuts. Brent Estcott, their managing director, cited statistics which show that 150 people are killed every year by falling coconuts. There was some perception that perhaps Mr. Estcott had been struck on the head. 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. She was knocked out cold. She was duly hospitalized. The result: The insurance company paid out in full.
Every now and then, insurance companies can be shocked by really bizarre insurance claims:
Number 8: Bizarre Insurance Claims
A man who shot his TV earned his place in the list of the world’s most bizarre insurance claims. After explaining he had no idea the gun was loaded, the professional gun restorer was able to convince his insurer the shot was not intentional.
Number 9: Bizarre Insurance Claims
A couple suffered severe damage to their kitchen when their washing machine became stuck on high heat. This caused significant steam damage to their kitchen. However their home insurance provider rejected their claim, saying the couple were not covered by steam.