April 2019 - Hall of Claims
Written by by Marnye Langer
Friday, 29 March 2019 01:08
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Unusual scenarios illustrate the range of cases in which a good insurance policy and good relationships are critical.

by Marnye Langer

Gators in the Barn

With a hurricane bearing down on Florida, our LEGIS client, a trainer, took the prudent step of evacuating her horses to a place out of the path of the hurricane. After the storm blew through, the trainer checked on her property. It turned out that alligators had moved into her barn. She prudently beat a retreat.


However, the trainer needed some feed and supplies that were stored in the barn, so with the help of a friend they donned hockey gear and went to the barn. With some hockey sticks, lots of yelling, and a fair amount of courage, they managed to back off the alligators sufficiently so they could get the items they needed.

In the mayhem, the gators caused some damage to the stall doors and the trainer noted they had ripped a few feeders and saddle racks off the walls. She also noticed that her saddle had been mistaken for food and was shredded.

Her insurance coverage provided funds for repairing the barn and replacing the saddle. While everyone was trying to determine whether the insurance carrier would pay for removal of the gators, they took it upon themselves to return to their pond and the trainer’s horses returned to their barn. LEGIS was happy that our client received some “gator-aid” and no serious harm was done.


As part of our client’s farm policy, her pick-up truck was one of the covered vehicles. One day her truck’s speed dropped below 20 mph and every light on her dashboard lit up. Being from a handy family, she limped the truck home and with the help of a friend and Google they attempted to diagnose the problem.

Our client soon realized the problem was beyond her skills and knowledge and she took the truck to her mechanic. She was worried that the problem was going to be large and expensive. She wasn’t wrong. It turned out a rat had taken up residence in her engine and had eaten through much of the wiring.

The coating on wires tends to be made out of soy or cornstarch products in an attempt to reduce plastics. Mechanics report that these kinds of problems are more common than people realize.

Our client called us, not expecting any coverage, but hoping against hope that maybe there was some insurance for what was going to be a $15,000 repair bill. The entire engine had to be pulled from the vehicle and much of the wiring replaced. We were happy to report to our client that there was coverage as the auto policy provides protection for damage to wiring caused by animals.

While the rat enjoyed Wire Ratatouille, our client was not reduced to eating gruel in order to pay a $15,000 repair bill.

Over Age

Our client received her annual renewal paperwork for her horse’s insurance policy. We informed her that this was the final year her horse could be insured because it was turning 20, generally the oldest age that insurance carriers will cover. Our client understood and returned the paperwork.

Several months later, our client called us in tears. Her beloved horse had contracted a serious illness and the veterinary clinic did not have a positive prognosis. After several days of treatment, the horse was not getting better. Sadly, the horse had to be put down.

We informed our client that she needed to provide the horse’s papers in order to complete the claim. The client found her paperwork and discovered the horse was a year older than she thought. She called us in tears. It turned out when she bought the horse many years prior the seller told her its age. She never opened the sealed envelope of paperwork. If she had, she would have seen that the papers for the horse showed it was a year older than the seller had stated.

Technically, there was no coverage for the horse. The horse was actually 21 years old and therefore not eligible for insurance coverage. However, it was very clear to the LEGIS Team that the owner of the horse never intended to deceive. She truly believed the horse was 20. She was forthcoming when she found paperwork that indicated the horse was actually a year older. We were able to go to the insurance carrier, advocate for the client, and explain the situation. The carrier agreed to honor the policy and paid the client.

Understanding situations that can arise and maintaining good relationships with both clients and carriers is an age-old issue. Fortunately, although the horse “aged out” of insurance, we were able to get an exception made.

LEGIS is proud to provide a comprehensive menu of insurance coverages for our clients.

Author Marnye Langer is CFO & Managing Director of Langer Equestrian Group and LEG Insurance Solutions, and an active amateur jumper competitor.