Saturday, January 13, 2007

Going, Going, Gone...

There's a classic story of a man who bought, and subsequently insured, a box of expensive cigars. After smoking them, he filed a claim, asserting that they had been destroyed "in a series of small fires." The company denied the claim, of course, and the man sued. He won, and the insurer was obligated to pay him $15,000 for his "loss."

The insurance company had the last laugh though: after the man cashed the check, he was arrested on 24 counts of arson! With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the man was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine.

That story is no doubt apocryphal (literally, full of a pox), but sometimes life imitates art:

"The casino magnate who accidentally poked a hole in a Picasso painting said insurer Lloyd's of London has offered to settle his $54 million claim of lost value, but the talks aren't going the way he'd like."

Turns out that erstwhile tycoon Steve Wynn, who purchased the painting in 2001, was in the process of selling it when he accidentally poked his own elbow through it, tearing a thumb-sized hole in it. He's made no bones about the fact that it was his own clumsiness which led to the damage, which has since been repaired (but which has also diminished the painting's value).

Apparently, the Lloyd's syndicate which underwrote the policy has a difference of opinion about the value of the claim, and so Mr Wynn is suing them in an effort to "expedite" the claim (i.e. cough up more moola).

I wonder how much coverage I should get for all the mini Picasso's adorning our fridge?
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