The Weirdest Things Ever Insured (Part 1)
Insurance Experts' Forum, November 22, 2010
Agents, assets, risks, liabilities — it’s the language of insurance, and unless you’re Alan Greenspan, it probably sounds about as exciting as watching water evaporate. But while insurance does tend to revolve around standard phrases like “equity indexed annuity,” it also has its secret wild side. Sort of like Donald in accounting.
In fact, populated by rogues, celebrities, and aliens, and full of risks, glamour, and hot assets, the insurance world has its fair share of intrigue.
When it comes to insurance, practically anything (except for über-risk-bearing astronauts) can be insured provided there’s reasonable risk. This type of customized, unusual, higher-risk policy falls under the umbrella of specialty lines insurance.
And when it comes to the specialty market, Lloyd’s of London is far and away the industry leader. Lloyd’s pioneered specialty lines policies, and famously insured the first airplane, Betty Grable’s legs, Marlene Dietrich’s voice, Dutch winemaker Ilja Gort’s nose, and countless other novelties.
The list goes on and on and is (not surprisingly) skewed toward the rich and famous, so for this week, we narrowed it down to our 4 favorite over-the-top celebrity insurance policies.
1. Troy Polamalu’s locks
Troy Polamalu may be famous for being one of the NFL’s most fearsome defenders but it’s his hair that’s getting all the press recently. Lloyd’s of London insured his Rapunzel-like locks for $1,000,000.
2. Ben Turpin’s crossed eyes
Unless you’re a trivia fanatic, almost 100, or both, you might not know about Ben Turpin, but he made insurance history in the 1920s. Famous in silent films for the expressiveness of his crossed eyes, Turpin took out a $20,000 policy with Lloyd’s to insure them from uncrossing. And they never did!
3. Merv Hughes’ mustache
Cricketer Merv Hughes, famous for his distinctive (and impressive) walrus mustache, took out a £200,000 insurance policy on his luxuriant ‘stache during his stint with the Australian cricket team. Didn’t know that a mustache could be such a valuable asset, did you? (Okay, maybe you did.)
4. Mariah Carey’s legs
Betty Grable may have been the first woman to insure her legs in the 1940s, but Mariah Carey has her outstepped. After winning Gillette’s “Legs of a Goddess” award in 2006, she reportedly took out a billion-dollar policy on her god-like gams. Carey neither confirmed nor denied the rumor, so this little tidbit is either insurance myth or insurance history. Either way, billion-dollar legs? Take that, 6 Million Dollar Man!
Tune in next week for more far-flung insurance tales involving the Loch Ness Monster, ET, rogue traders, and more.
Anne Le Tran is a copywriter at Esurance.
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