Quirky insurance claims revealed as Aviva marks 325 years

A look through the archive of Aviva’s commercial lines business unearthed a few unusual claims.

Catherine Wylie
Monday 24 January 2022 00:01
One case in 1878 involved a hotel keeper who suffered a blow to the eye from the cork of a champagne bottle he was opening (PA)
One case in 1878 involved a hotel keeper who suffered a blow to the eye from the cork of a champagne bottle he was opening (PA)

A dentist kicked through a window and a sheep jumping through glass are among claims dealt with by a company marking 325 years in commercial insurance.

Aviva has revealed unusual but valid claims as it marks the milestone, including one case in 1878 when a hotel keeper in London suffered a blow to the eye from the cork of a champagne bottle he was opening.

He successfully claimed £25 10s – or £20,120 in today’s money.

In 1960, Aviva said it paid a claim to a shop owner for a broken showroom window relating to an incident involving a sheep running through the door of the showroom, taking a flying leap through the plate glass window and disappearing.

As our records show, we’ve seen the strangest and most unusual claims, which goes to show that planning for the unexpected is good business practice

Nick Major

The following year, it paid a claim from a dentist who was kicked out of a window by a patient coming round from an anaesthetic.

Aviva insured some of the securities stolen in the Great Train Robbery in 1963, and paid out £1,091,340 10s 0d – or £59 million in today’s money.

In 1984 a claim was paid for a fishmonger’s van which was caught in the siege at the Libyan embassy.

It was parked nearby and could not be moved until the siege ended by which time the fish had rotted.

Nick Major, managing director, commercial lines, said: “Aviva has played an important role helping businesses protect what’s important to them, enabling them to continue to trade through good times and bad, something we have continued to focus on through the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As our records show, we’ve seen the strangest and most unusual claims, which goes to show that planning for the unexpected is good business practice.”

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