Insurance investigators' top tales
Scott Congiusti still chuckles at his introduction to the world of insurance claims adjusting. In particular, there was the warning about rich and famous clients.
"My underwriter told me, 'For the first six months, everything you see is going to blow your mind, and then they're just going to become numbers and things,'" recalls Congiusti, now assistant vice president of personal claims at insurance brokerage HUB International Northeast in Berkeley Heights, N.J. "That's how you have to deal with it. If you get paralyzed every time you see a Bentley, you're in the wrong line of work."
And because the wealthy typically require mountains of insurance to protect their high-end homes, artwork and jewelry, most insurers consider them a valuable asset and handle their claims with care.
"The insurance company's attitude is, 'We want to pay the accurate amount,'" says Tom Kirkpatrick, president of Contents Consulting of Sanibel, Fla. "You rarely hear them say, 'We want to pay the least amount.' That isn't the mentality."
Clients of more modest means can pose challenges, too. These seven stories show that assessing crazy insurance claims can test the skills -- and even the sanity -- of the best adjusters.