My scariest claim was when I had an insured that could not speak English. Bedford County Tennessee is home
to lots of Somalian Refugees. This particular insured was in an auto accident and called me the agent instead of 911 and while they were on the phone the only thing I could really understand from him was “car bang” and “lady bleeds in the head”. So once I could finally get his name out of him I asked the phone number to reach and him and to give me the location, which was in itself another scary thing…he was somewhere of course where he had no idea and but he did give me the Hwy number and that was it, finally someone showed up on the scene as they had called 911 and was able to speak to me after I asked to hand the phone to someone who could explain to me what was really going on. Needless to say be careful when you give an id card to an insured at the sale of the policy by saying be sure to call me if there is an accident, needless to say some people be sure you include to call 911 first though.
While working as a company adjuster in Southern California, one of our insured’s pulled away from a stop sign, directly into a path of a woman who was transporting eggs commercially in her station wagon. The impact was severe, & caused her to sustain multiple chest bruises, which required medical treatment. When she was examined, the doctor’s found that she had stage II breast cancer, and was scheduled for surgery within the week. Her station wagon was a total loss, both she & the station wagon were covered with broken eggs, but in the end the accident was more of a “treat” than a “trick”, as she made a full recovery from her breast cancer.
While working as an agency claims manager in Northern California, one of our clients, who was a manufacturer of over the counter nutritional supplements, discovered that they had mistakenly substituted niacin for niacinamide in several batches of one of their products. They did some checking, & decided that most adverse reactions would be minimal, & consist of a “niacin flush”, which, although upsetting, would probably not be life-threatening. They elected not to recall the defective product, but wait to hear from their vendors. Less that six complaints were received, and only one customer required a brief hospitalization. Those claims were reported & handled under products liability coverage.
My scariest claim would have to be the one where my phone rang and it was someone calling me from the job site where the person on the other end of the line said a dump truck had just slid down a hill because it got stuck in the wet mud…he watched a co-worker see the truck coming right to him…had no time to get out of the way…so he lied down and luckily the truck rolled right past him and he went uninjured. Whew! That was a close, but scary one…
One of our insureds, a Funeral Director, had a body in the chapel for a wake/viewing, and one morning when he arrived back at the Funeral Parlour to get ready for the family, he opened the casket and the head of the deceased was gone. During the night someone came into the funeral home, removed the body from the casket, removed and took the head and placed the body back in the casket.
Claimant was in the public showers when snakes came out of the drain. Claimant jumped up to avoid the snakes hit his head on the shower head, knocking himself out. Sued for mental distress and loss of consortium.
Back in 1995, I had a client that owned a motel. They took cash for a room let out to a young couple. After the guest’s departure, the housekeeper came out of the room crying and eyes watering like crazy from the fumes in the room. Evidently, the “guest” tried to manufacture drugs (meth) and poured the chemicals down the bathtub drain melting the fiberglass/plastic tub surround and smoldered for hours. Haz Mat was called in and our insured had a $100,000 + pollution cleanup claim and no pollution liability coverage plus several employees that went to ER for inhalation injuries. The ENTIRE section of the building had to be demo’d and rebuilt!
– E. Corrigan
Two scary experiences stand out in my career and they both traumatized me because I could relate them to my own children. When my son was four years old and I worked a fatality claim involving a child his age. The little boy’s grandmother was watching him and stopped at a store for an item. She forgot that he was with her and followed her back to the car. She got into her car and put it into reverse. She heard a ‘crunch’ and got out to see what she hit. She found her little grandson’s head smashed by the tire of her own vehicle. All I wanted to do was to run home and hug my own little boy. My next scary experience happened when both of my boys were of driving age. I was involved in an investigation of an overturned jeep involving a DUI charge. The driver was ejected but the passenger was wearing her seat belt. She was hanging upside down in her seatbelt and her face was cut from above her ear, around the frontal scalp line to the other ear. The skin was peeled off of her forehead, nose and cheeks and was just hanging there. It was the most gruesome, heart wrenching fatality claim I’ve ever been involved in. Again, I was petrified at the thought of my children behind the wheel.
My husband worked at an insurance agency that had weekly producer meetings. One Halloween, he dressed as an accident victim, complete with dripping “blood” from his face. He sat in a chair in the coffee-room in the dark and waited. One of the producers came in, flipped on the light and began making the coffee for the meeting, not seeing him. He moaned to get her attention. She turned, saw him, and ran out screaming “there’s a deranged man in the coffee-room”. As she was running down the hall, she grabbed another female employee who was coming in for the meeting and literally dragged her down the hall screaming. As they were getting ready to call the cops, a male employee who knew of my husband’s antics, said “don’t call the cops, it’s only Harvey”. The woman who was dragged down the hall filed a work comp claim – she had some slight injuries because of the dragging – but her main claim was that she suffered emotional distress (mind you, she never saw my husband). She had nightmares and, among other things, refused to go into the basement in her home to do the laundry. Her husband came up to my husband @ the company Christmas party that year, and said “If I would have been in the building, you wouldn’t have needed the costume!”