Think the world of insurance doesn't have its fair share of amusing mishaps? Think again. Aviva plc, the world's sixth largest insurer, has had its rivals from New York to Hong Kong grinning quietly to themselves - since the firm accidentally fired 1300 staff.

The grand firing was carried out by email, in a message which asked each recipient to ensure they returned all company property before leaving the building. It also reminded them of confidentiality agreements as regards any information they held about the company. According to the firm, the human resources department was quick to send out apologies to recipients of the email.

The mass email was, according to Aviva, meant to be for a single person in the Investors staff, but the entire Investors team somehow received the bad news. It's not clear if the intended person's name was revealed to the 1,300 recipients.

The Daily Telegraph was first to report on the debacle, which was blamed on an administrative error.

Paul Lockstone, spokesman for the London-based insurer, explained: “Unfortunately, as a result of a clerical error, it [the email] was sent to all of the Investors staff worldwide.”

So it seems that the world of insurance - from travel to car to holiday home insurance - can be a little bit more entertaining than some might believe!

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