Wednesday, July 15, 2015

The venerable and distinguished Lloyd's of London has insured just about everything.

The history of Lloyd's of London:
Lloyd’s of London is the most venerable and storied insurance carrier anywhere in the world, with a reputation for insuring anything and everything going all the back to the 17th century.  It was then that Londoner Edward Lloyd, operating out of his coffee shop, started issuing marine insurance for ships and cargo. More than 325 years later, there really isn’t much Lloyd’s hasn’t covered, including plenty of celebrity’s body parts, fine jewels, space exploration, and even alien abduction. Here is a list of some of the most notable insurance policies ever issued by Lloyd’s of London, still headquartered in London today:

Plenty of legs:
Singer Mariah Carey signed with Gillette for their “Legs of a Goddess” promotion and they company promptly insured hers for a whopping $1 billion with Lloyd’s of London.

However, when Rihanna was signed for the same campaign, they only assigned a $1 million policy on her legs.

That’s the same amount famous Hollywood starlet Betty Grable insured her legs for in the 1940s.

But they still all pale in comparison to the £100m Lloyd’s insurance policy on soccer great David Beckham’s legs, though they were protected for less aesthetic and more athletic reasons!

Hollywood:
There is a long lineage of Hollywood stars insuring their most notable assets against loss, including Bette Davis, who actually insured her waistline against weight gain with a $28,000 policy.

In 1930, Jimmy ‘the Schnozzle’ Durante insured his sizable nose against loss for $140,000.

America Ferrera, the star of Ugly Betty, has a smile so bright – sans braces – that Aquafresh insured her pearly whites for $10 million as part of their ad and charity campaign.

Eerily, James Dean took out a $100,000 life insurance policy only one week before he tragically passed in an auto accident at age 25.

Individual stars aren’t the only ones Lloyd’s covers, as the Oscar awards celebration is insured against fire, terrorism, and about $38 million on the hook for loss of jewelry.

By land, air, and sea:
Llyod’s of London started by insuring marine and shipping expeditions in the 1800s, and evolved from there to cover other forms of transportation.

In 1904, they issued their first policy for the new form of overland travel called the “motorcar.” Their underwriters had no idea how to gauge the risk of motorcars, and in fact described them in the policy as a “'ship navigating on land.”

In 1911, another vanguard of transportation begged the attention of Lloyd’s underwriters – flying. The company started insuring policies for experimental flights but after a few years of paying out on frequent crashes, they cancelled their services. In fact, according to official documents, insuring air travel was cancelled ‘in view of the fact that there seems to be no immediate future in aviation insurance and that there is no business to be had’.

Charles Lindbergh was insured for $18,000 when he made his transatlantic flight from USA to Europe on the Spirit of St. Louis.

Space exploration:
Lloyd’s entered the realm of space exploration in 1965, with their insurance policy on the first space satellite, the Instelstat.

Over the years, they covered other space missions against physical damage, business interruption, and even space debris and in 1984 helped launch a successful mission to salvage to rogue satellites.

Lloyd’s foray into business-in-outer-space will continue, as they’ve started issuing insurance policies for space tourists, including 500 citizens of the earth who have already signed up for Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic private space trips.

Aliens, zombies, and vampires:
Is it fiction or fact? That doesn’t matter to Lloyd’s, who will let people take out insurance policies against them being bitten and transforming into a vampire, zombie, or werewolf. And reportedly, 60,000 people have already signed up!

There are also policies that cover “for a potential zombie apocalypse and the resulting cleaning costs.” What a mess that would be!

Lloyd’s of London even issues insurance policies against being abducted by aliens, and 20,000 people to date have paid premiums for that peace of mind.


One of those policies was taken out by legendary actress Shirley MacLaine, who is now insured for $25 million in case she’s ever abducted by extraterrestrials.

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Look for part 2 of this blog, where we document how Lloyd's insures tongues, weddings, Loch Ness Monster sightings, and the possibility of another immaculate conception!

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