Here’s a piece of useless trivia for you.  You know that old saying that something “isn’t worth the paper it’s written on”? The saying apparently originated back in 1861, when Count Johann Bernhard von Rechberg und Rothenlöwen (remember him?), an Austrian statesman, was presented with a document recognizing Italy as a nation-state, and first uttered

In the “Cheese Shop” sketch from the old Monty Python comedy series, John Cleese plays a customer trying to buy some cheese from “Ye National Cheese Emporium, purveyor of fine cheese to the gentry (and the poverty-stricken too)”. The cheese shop proprietor, played by Michael Palin, seems to have no cheese in stock, not even

In Billy Wilder’s 1944 film noir masterpiece, “Double Indemnity,” Phyllis Dietrichson (Barbara Stanwyck) seduces insurance agent Walter Neff (Fred MacMurray) into murdering her husband to collect on his accident policy. (Who knew insurance could be so seedy?)  The suspicious and relentless claims adjuster, Barton Keyes (Edward G. Robinson), eventually gets to the bottom of the

“Now the flood was on the earth forty days. The waters increased and lifted up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and greatly increased on the earth, and the ark moved about on the surface of the waters.” [Genesis 7:17.]

I’m guessing that people didn’t have flood insurance in

There’s a very true old quote about interpreting insurance policies that I (and other policyholder lawyers) like to cite.  It goes: “Ambiguity and incomprehensibility seem to be the favorite tools of the insurance trade in drafting policies. Most are a virtually impenetrable thicket of incomprehensible verbosity…The miracle of it all is that the English language

The great American humorist and writer Ambrose Bierce (1842-circa 1914) published a famous work called “The Devil’s Dictionary,” in which he provided astute (if sardonic) definitions of many common terms in the English language. Bierce defined “insurance” for example, as “An ingenious modern game of chance in which the player is permitted to enjoy the

Back in the 80s and 90s, during the environmental insurance coverage wars, each side (insurance companies and policyholders) frequently accused the other of trying to insert imaginary language into insurance policies after losses had happened. Many lawyers put their kids through college arguing about the meaning of the words “sudden” and “accidental,” for example, in