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OFF BEAT: 'World of Warcraft' dispute may cost insurer a pile of gold


Sometimes virtual gaming can have real-world consequences, as one Australian nurse discovered when her home was robbed and thieves absconded with $75,000 in gold she “farmed” by playing “World of Warcraft.”

Gold farming is conducted by selling virtual game currency won while playing the online multiplayer “World of Warcraft” games for real-world money. Katrina Fincham took her victory spoils and had them made into gold bars, which she locked in a safe in her home.

But even though Ms. Fincham had purchased insurance to cover the gold, her homeowners insurer, Melbourne, Australia-based AAMI, denied the claim, instead accusing Ms. Fincham of insurance fraud. After a police investigation later revealed that it was Ms. Fincham’s boyfriend who tipped off the robbers that her home would be vacant, and that she had no part in the theft, AAMI has agreed to settle the insurance claim.

But Ms. Fincham’s victory against her insurer came at a high price: Besides losing her boyfriend, Ms. Fincham was forced to sell her home to cover the cost of a bad-faith lawsuit she filed against her insurer.

Terms of the settlement are being kept confidential, but rumor has it that Ms. Fincham is asking that AAMI pay part of her claim in gold coins.

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