Your How To Source: Issues of Value, Ethics, Human Needs and Deeds Edited by Heinz Dinter, PhD
The cigar insurance caper (2006-11-10)
Sharpie purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, and then insured them against, among other things, fire.
Within a month, having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy Sharpie filed a claim against the insurance company.
In his claim, Sharpie stated the cigars were lost “in a series of small fires.”
The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason, that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. Sharpie sued and WON!
(Now stay with me here.)
Delivering the ruling, the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The judge stated nevertheless that Sharpie held a policy from the company, which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable, and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be “unacceptable fire” and was obligated to pay the claim.
Rather than endure the lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000 to Sharpie for his loss of the cigars lost in the “fires”.
(Now for the best part.)
After Sharpie cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of ARSON!
With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, Sharpie was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000 fine.
This is a true story and was the First Place winner in the Super Sharpie Award Contest.
The events related above did not occur — well, I have no knowledge of them. Also, there is no such thing as the “Super Sharpie Award Contest.” This is the latest — and most verbose — retelling of an old legend that has roots in humor. In some variations, the cigar-buyer is just an average scammer; in others, he’s an accountant or lawyer. In every version, however, his clever scheme always backfires and he ends up losing more than he won.
This tale and others like it give us hope that, in this overly litigious society plagued by frivolous lawsuits and scams, justice does prevail and that clever crimes have equally clever consequences. In short, we want it to be true.
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