When insurance first became popular in old England in the days of the sailing ships, Lloyd’s of London was the main carrier of maritime coverage for ships crossing the seas to the Americas and other distant shores. At that time, perils such as ships sinking because of leaking hulls, being captured by pirate vessels or losing their cargo to death and disease during the slave trade were the primary perils paid for in claims.
Today’s insurance companies are direct descendants of those early days, and while most coverage written today is in the form of life, health, homeowner’s and vehicle insurance, maritime coverage is still big business around the world as are various forms of other types of more obscure coverage.
Some Unique Coverage Written
Lloyd’s of London has made a name for itself in underwriting coverage in some of the most unique or obscure indemnity policies out there. And when we say “out there,” we really mean out there! Insurance exists, for example, for space satellites being launched or orbiting the Earth. There’s also coverage against third parties being harmed or dying while visiting a haunted house and a British Comedy Troupe got an insurance policy to protect themselves from someone “dying of laughter” while attending one of their live performances. Some insurance companies write “alien abduction” coverage and policies have been written for individuals in fear of being attacked by zombies or werewolves!
Other Obscure Policies
Body parts are often the subject of unique policies, usually bought by famous entertainers or sports figures. Some of the more unusual on record include:
Professional cricket player Merv Hughes from Australia had his trademark walrus mustache insured for $370,000, Jimmy Durante had his nose insured and Ben Turpin of silent film fame had a policy against his crossed eyes going straight. Several celebrities have had their hair insured, including football player Troy Polamalu. Sir Kenneth Dodd, British comedian, had his protruding teeth insured for $7.4 million.
Famous “leg protection” policyholders, past and present, include Tina Turner, Brooke Shields, Betty Grable, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and Michael Flatley. The list of celebrities with policies on their bodies seems nearly endless, covering everything including fingers for guitar players, vocal chords for singers, chest hair (Tom Jones), tongues (Gene Simmons), taste buds (food critic Egon Ronay), and buttocks (Jennifer Lopez).
More down-to-earth coverage includes protection from kidnapping, riots, multiple births and “changes of heart.”