The World’s Largest Insurance Claims

The World’s Largest Insurance Claims

If you’re lucky, you will never have to file an insurance claim. However, for many people, things can (and do) go wrong. In fact, over the years, insurance providers have paid out huge sums of money to insurance-holders for claims ranging from natural disasters and pet policies to everything in between. These individuals leveraged the protection of their insurance policies to protect their financial interests in the event of unexpected accidents, disasters, or other losses.

We’ve compiled a list of the largest and most mind-boggling insurance payouts throughout history. You’d be surprised the end sum paid out for some of these claims.

The World’s First Large Insurance Claim

During the 17th Century, London served as a trade center, which led to increasing demand for shipping and cargo insurance. With roots in marine insurance, Lloyd’s was founded by Edward Lloyd at his coffee house on Tower Street in 1686. 

HMS Lutine (1799) – Considered the most famous maritime losses to date, the HMS Lutine was transporting large amounts of silver and gold from London to a German port. However, on October 9th,1799, the ship and all but one of its 240 person crew were lost during a severe storm. The hull of the Lutine was insured for $18 million (approximately $180 million today) and the iron ore cargo was also covered for a whopping $27 million (approximately $270 million today). Llyod’s, under the leadership of skilled underwriter John Julius Angerstein, paid the claim in full within two weeks of the disaster.

the world first large insurance claim

Most Expensive Natural Disaster Insurance Claims

Some of the world’s biggest insurance payouts are the cumulative results of natural disasters. Among the world’s largest natural disaster claims include:

  • China Earthquake (2008) – China was hit by an 8.0 magnitude earthquake that killed over 69,000 people and injured another 374,175, destroying over 80% of all buildings in the zone of the earthquake. The damage caused over $20 billion in damage. However, only $1 billion was paid out through insurance claims due to the lack of citizens with insurance plans set in place.
  • Hurricane Ike (2008) – Grinding North America’s infrastructure to a halt and demolishing prime agriculture, buildings and causing flooding across the lands of Cuba, Texas, and Haiti, Hurricane Ike resulted in over $20.5 billion in insurance claims in 2008.
  • Tohoku Earthquakes and Tsunami (2011) – The fourth most powerful earthquake ever to be recorded hit Japan with a magnitude of 9.0, combined with the subsequent deadly tsunami, resulted in combined insurance payouts of $35 billion.

Most Expensive Collective Travel Insurance Claims

The SARS outbreak started in 2003 in China and spread to over 37 countries around the world within a few short weeks. Collective claims are estimated to have stood at $1 billion for travel cancellations and business being interrupted (approximately 3,6 billion AED).

Several years later, in 2010, Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano erupted, grounding tens of millions of passengers due to canceled flights. Ultimately, this disruption cost the European Union some $3.5 billion in travel insurance claims. Perhaps more astounding is the fact this hefty figure doesn’t include the residual effects felt by other airlines outside of the EU that were grounded from flying over various parts of Europe. Even the price of petrol fell because of the airlines’ not being able to fly.

world largest auto insurance claims

World’s Largest Auto Insurance Claims

In 2007, engineers crashed 2 Bugatti Veyrons while running tests for a prototype. Each of the vehicles was worth over $800,000. Not far behind is actor Rowan Atkinson’s personal auto insurance claim.

While actor Rowan Atkinson is best known for his comedic work as Mr. Bean, he’s most known in the insurance world for holding the record for the largest-ever car insurance claim. In 2011, Atkinson drove into a patch of water in the road resulting in a car accident. His ultra-rare McLaren F1 supercar, which he had originally paid $796,800 for, had increased to an estimated $4,357,500 million over the years. Ultimately, Atkinson’s car insurance claim resulted in the insurance company to pay out a record-breaking $1,133,000 for repairs (approximately 4,161,500 AED).

Most Expensive Pet Insurance Claims

In a world full of animal lovers, it’s not unusual for people to take out insurance policies for their beloved pet. Common pet insurance policies ensure pet owners can afford their medical bills in the event their pet becomes ill. However, some people take their pet insurance coverage to the extremes.

Most people now have pet insurance to cover their furry friends in the event of illness and injury. Some of the more notable pet insurance payouts include the following:

  • 2007 – Commonly referred to as a domestic short or long hair, a moggy is a cat of unknown origin/mixed breed. A scientifically bred moggy had to have renal surgeries amounting to the equivalent cost of $22,000 (or approximately 80,800 AED). Fortunately, the scientists had the forethought to invest in pet insurance beforehand.
  • 2010 – A United States insurance company paid an owner approximately $16,000 to pay for their cat’s kidney surgery (approximately 58,700 AED). 
  • 2018 – German Shepherd Lupa was brought to the ER with clinical signs of tetanus toxin exposure. Vets ran diagnostics and neurological evaluation to confirm their diagnosis – amounting to a whopping $52,021 (approximately 191,000 AED). Total insurance payout (reimbursement) to the pet owner amounted to $46,569 (approximately 171,000 AED).

Protect Your Personal and Professional Interests

Despite these historically notorious insurance claims, most large claims are comprised of hundreds of thousands of individual claims from ordinary people whose lives have been devastated by a single event. From earthquakes and tsunamis to auto accidents, the world can throw a host of difficulties at us. Insurance coverage is designed to ensure you don’t suffer financially in the event of an unforeseen tragedy. 

At Petra Insurance Brokers, our team of advisors are ready to provide you with a quote for new coverage or help you review your existing coverage. Contact a member of our team today to find out how we can help you protect the life you’ve worked so hard to build. You can also reach us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. We look forward to hearing from you.

The World’s Largest Insurance Claims


Managing Partner

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