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Crazy covers - Business Standard

26 May, 2009


What types of insurance do you have - Health, Home, Car and maybe a few more? If you think you've got as much coverage as you could ever need, think again. What happens if you get bitten by a werewolf? In fact, there are many other parts of your life you could be insuring. Let's look at some interesting and wacky ones.

Million-dollar body parts
Little is known about a wine taster who insured his nose for $8 million. The man's name is Ilya Gort, and his nose is so vital to his job at his French vineyard that Lloyd's of London wrote an insurance policy protecting him should he lose either his nose or his sense of smell.
The policy has a few catches. The Associated Press reported that he's not allowed to ride a motorcycle, take up boxing or work as an assistant to a knife thrower. Fire-breathing is also out. This is apparently a standard exclusion. An insurance magazine called "Best's Review" stated that an unnamed celebrity who sought an insurance policy on his chest hair also was forbidden to eat fire. Neither could he snorkel or hunt on horseback. The hairy hunk is also out of luck in the case of hair loss caused by terrorism, war, revolution or nuclear contamination. Even more ordinary causes illness and natural shedding aren't covered.
Celebrities are often known for a single physical feature, so it seems natural that they would want to protect their livelihoods by insuring these inherent gifts. Enter the world of body part insurance. In this market, insurers, most notably Lloyd's of London, offer policies that pay out if something mars a valuable body part. Here are some well known people who have been insured for their body parts:
$70 million for footballer David Beckham's legs and feet
$1 billion for American singer, songwriter Mariah Carey's legs
$6 million covering Bruce Springsteen''s voice
$5 million for German super model Claudia Schiffer''s face
$10 million for America Ferrera's smile (she plays Ugly Betty on TV).
So are these policies worth it? Which ever way you look at it, they are great for building up publicity and media buzz. These traditional policies would also pay off if an injury or other misfortune ruined the body part and kept the star from being able to work.
The Paranormal
It's the stuff of urban legend. The UFO Abduction Insurance Company will insure you for $US10 million for medical, psychiatric and "sarcasm" costs occurring from alien abduction. Simply complete the "Proof of abduction and return" form. However, be warned, they pay out at only $1 a year.
Simon Burgess, a former underwriter at Lloyd's of London, has used his unusual sense of humour to his advantage in the insurance industry. Over the years his companies have provided coverage against all sorts of improbable events. He's sold over 40,000 policies that insure against alien abduction; he'll pay off more than a million pounds to any policyholder who can pass a lie detector test, has video or photographic evidence of his abduction, and has a reliable third-party witness.
What about the Loch Ness monster? Are you worried about being eaten by it? Burgess has written policies for people who fear this. He's also sold policies covering vampire and werewolf transformations.
Insure anything
And it's not just those with world-famous body parts who seek protection. Lesser lights do it, too. A popular Santa Claus who counted the White House, Cartier and Macy's among his clients insured his beard for an undisclosed sum.
Alien abduction, body parts, and monsters apart, let's look at our pets. If you have a special pet, you might be in luck because Lloyd's also provides animal insurance. They covered a trans-Atlantic flight of 10 elephants (all on the same flight); what's more...they've even insured two-headed albino rattlesnakes. says Ajay Bimbhet - Managing Director, Royal Sundaram Alliance Insurance Co Ltd.

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