German Insurer Apologizes for Citing Koran to Refuse Claim

28 September 2010

A Muslim immigrant in Germany who asked his insurance firm to cover the costs of a maid while he recovered from a serious accident had his claim rejected on the grounds that according to his religion, husbands don’t do the housework anyway.

The 79-year-old Algerian man had been seriously injured after being hit by a car and had already received a six-figure sum in damages from the Gothaer insurance company. When he filed an additional claim to cover the costs of running his household because he wasn’t healthy enough to do so himself, an insurance clerk responded by interpreting the Koran as placing the man above the woman. In her letter, she wrote of Muslim marriage: “It can’t be assumed to resemble a German marriage. According to the patriarchal and traditional view of the man in the Muslim marriage, the husband doesn’t run the household.”

The clerk cited the big age difference between the man and his wife – he is 26 years older – as a further indication that the burden of doing the housework was likely to fall on the wife. However, media reports said the wife has a job, which was why he did most of the work around the home. The company distanced itself from its insurance clerk this week and said it would apologize to the claimant.