Have you ever had an accident at work that was not your fault? A dig into the records of a major insurer has revealed some of the strangest valid trade claims, including the award of a defenestrated dentist and a farm worker blown into a slurry vat.
Aviva’s 325-year history of commercial insurance claims also reveals instances where policyholders have become embroiled in events that would go down in the history books.
These include investors who lost money in the great train robbery of 1963 and a fishmonger caught in the siege of the Libyan Embassy in 1984 – the van was parked nearby and was not could not be moved until the end of the siege, by which time the fish had rotted.
Among other notable claims uncovered in an exercise linked to the anniversary of its trading lines branch was the payment of £1,000 for the ‘Dundee whiskey fire’ of 1906. Eyewitnesses described “rivers of burning whiskey” running through the Scottish town after a fire at the warehouse of merchant James Watson & Co.
It may be nearly 60 years old, but the Great Train Robbery, in which £2.5million was stolen from the Glasgow-London Royal Mail train, continues to fascinate the British public. Aviva records reveal it paid just over £1million to owners of loot titles. This sum is equivalent to £59 million in today’s money.
Records also reveal that the insurer found himself on the hook after another dramatic heist, this time in the 1990s when robbers got away with “Woody the Cuprinol man”. The wooden figure, which has appeared in TV commercials for the wood curator brand, was picked up with Aviva telling the special effects company to “lock Woody up at night”.
Trawling through history also reveals tales of unexpected misfortune. A small farm worker carrying large corrugated sheets was blown away by a gust of wind and deposited in a slurry storage tank. According to the allegation “the employee’s clothing was damaged”.
There is also the account of a dentist who also suffered a crash landing. In the early 1960s, they received compensation after being kicked out of a window by a patient emerging from anesthetic.
Perhaps predictable for an insurer, Nick Major, managing director of commercial insurance, suggested the long list of weird and wonderful claims showed that “planning for the unexpected is good business practice”.
“Aviva has played an important role in helping businesses protect what’s important to them, enabling them to continue to trade in good times and bad, which is something we have continued to focus on during the Covid-19 pandemic. “, did he declare.