Biggest Insurance Claims in Modern History



Most-Expensive Pet

The most-expensive claim stood at $22,000 and it was in 2010 for feline renal surgery. Apparently, the pet as not a pedigree feline, but just a good-old gutter cat that somebody had decided to insure.

Rowan Atkinson

The British actor that is famous for his role as Mr. Bean had the most expensive automobile-insurance claim in history. The actor crashed his £640,000 McLaren F1, resulting in a payout by his insurance company for £900,000 in repairs. 

The insurance company had agreed to pay out that much since the price of that car had risen to in the region of £3.5 million when the accident happened in 2011. Prior to this, the highest payout by an insurance company for a car had stood at just over £300,000.

Bugatti Veyron

In 2007, engineers crashed 2 Bugatti Veyrons while running tests for a prototype. Each of the vehicles was worth over $800,000.

Ice Slip


In 2012 in Virginia one winter a resident of an apartment building went outside and slipped on the ice and the snow. A few bones were broken in the resident’s legs and complications led to the person being amputated of their lower legs. 

The claim was settled for a payout in compensation of $7.75 million because the landlord of the building had failed to clear the ice and snow in front of the building. He was therefore held responsible and it stands as the highest payout.

Car Accident


In 2012, Agnes Collier, a 17-year-old student was paralyzed in a car accident, resulting from a head-on collision. Her mother was also killed in the accident. The young girl received $11.5 million in compensation and all medical expenses, coming to a total of an estimated $37 million for her lifetime.


TOP 10 Biggest Insurance Claims In The World


10. SARS 2003: TOTAL :  $1 billion

The SARS outbreak is the largest epidemic payout in the history of insurance in the world today. The SARS outbreak started in 2003 in China and it soon spread to some 37 countries in the world, within just a few weeks. Claims are estimated to have stood at $1 billion for travel cancellations and business being interrupted.

9. Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami 2004: TOTAL :$1 billion

The Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that took place in 2004 is one the biggest natural-disaster payout. The result of the earthquake and the tsunami brought about claims that were in the region of $1 billion due to natural disaster and the lives lost.


8. Volcano Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull 2010: TOTAL : $3.5 billion

Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted in 2010 and it ended up costing the European Union some €2.5 billion ($3.5 billion). Tens of millions of passengers were grounded and flights cancelled across the EU because of the tiny dust particles that were spread into the air. 

What isn’t included in that figure is also the knock-on effect felt by other airlines outside of the EU that were stopped from flying over parts of Europe. Even the price of petrol fell because of the airlines’ not being able to fly.

7. US / Canada Outage 2003: TOTAL : $6 billion

In 2003, 10 million Canadians and 45 million Americans lost their power supply in the biggest outage in history. The cost of that stands at $6 billion to cover transport being stopped, flights being grounded and business being looted or unable to work.

6. China Earthquake 2008: TOTAL: $20 billion

Millions of Chinese were left homeless in 2008 when the earthquake hit and the natural disaster cost the lives of more than 68,000 people. The cost of the earthquake in financial terms ended up hitting the $20 billion mark.

5. Japan’s Tsunami : TOTAL: $40 billion

The tsunami that hit Japan cost the total sum of $40 billion. However there are some that believe that the aggregate cost of all losses incurred could reach some $100 billion.

4. 9/11 Tragedy: TOTAL: $40 billion 

When the Twin Towers were used as the target for terrorists, the financial cost amounted to some $40 billion being paid out in insurance claims, due to loss of business, property and of course life.

3. Lehman Brothers : TOTAL: $100 billion

When the bank collapsed it saw claims not only for Lehman Brothers but also collateral-damage claims that were being made by related companies to this bank. Some state that payouts have been in the region of $100 billion, although the exact sum is confidential to insurance companies.

2. 2005 Hurricane Katrina, Rita and Wilma: TOTAL: $130 billion

There was a death toll of more than 4,000 when Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma struck in North America in 2005. The cost in payouts is said to have reached $130 billion and it is the most expensive natural disaster in the history of insurance. Homes were damaged, business failed and property was lost as well as lives and personal injury.

1. 2008 Financial Crisis : TOTAL: $21 trillion

The 2008 financial crisis was the worst in the history of the financial markets. The 1930 Great Depression was not a patch on what the world went through. Insurance companies had to pay out some $21 trillion in compensation and claims.

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