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Insurable Losses in Twin Peaks

To celebrate today's news, let's look at some of the insurable and unisurable losses sustained 25 years ago in Twin Peaks*:

1. Packard's Mill Fire: there's a lot going on here. If the arson investigation determined that the insured was responsible for the fire that caused the loss, then this claim would be declined. In fact, if a claim was filed, the insurance company could (and should) allege insurance fraud against the owner of the mill. If Catherine Martell is an employee who owns no part of the mill and is committing this criminal act of her own accord and does not stand to profit from the insurance claim (though she does stand to profit from the land deal), it isn't necessarily insurance fraud. It's a legal mess in any event.

We all know Josie Packard and Ben Horne are committing insurance fraud by taking out a large term life policy on Catherine without her knowledge, and then killing her in her own fire. (Amazingly, the good life insurance agent that tips Martell off through his own due diligence is named Walter Neff -- perhaps the analogue to the black lodge Walter Neff of an earlier era.)

The cardinal rule of insurance is that you should not profit by it; it is intended to make you whole after a loss. If you damage your own property, that's uninsurable. 

2. Theft of records from Dr. Jacoby's residence: while Laura Palmer's sessions were subpoenaed and supposed to be given over to the authorities, if the doctor is keeping patient's personal records at his place in addition to the office, he should list the residence as a second location and take pains to secure that patient data. (Hiding it in a coconut doesn't count.) Theft of patient data could constitute a major claim -- in many cases regarding health records, data is 'medium neutral,' which means whether the data is stored electronically or on paper (or on a cassette), if a third party obtains that data without consent, you've suffered a breach and could be held liabile.

3. Exorcist Liability: while acts you commit when possessed by a third party (BOB in the case of Leland Palmer) are uninsurable, I have heard of a market for exorcist liability -- that is, if someone sues the insured for injury sustained during an exorcist, coverage is triggered for the defense. This is probably moot in Texas, where in 2008 the Texas Supreme Court ruled that churches were not liable for damages caused during an exorcism

Please consult your agent about exorcist liability or any of the types of insurance mentioned above. This is not meant to be authoritative.

*Please keep in mind: a) we are not licensed in the state of Washington, and each state governs its insurance law; b) these are not guarantees about your own coverage, and you should check with your agent; c) Twin Peaks is fictional; d) that gum you like is going to come back into style.