Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The venerable and distinguished Lloyd's of London has insured just about everything, part 2.

In part one of this piece, we introduced Lloyd’s of London, 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. Here is part 2 of that list of the most notable insurance policies ever issued by Lloyd’s of London:

Expensive rocks and art:
Lloyd’s insures plenty of expensive jewelry and precious stones, but none more magnificent – and expensive –than the Taylor-Burton diamond. Purchased by actor Richard Burton for his love interest, Elizabeth Taylor in the 69.42 carat, inch-thick Cartier diamond was worth $1.1 million. 

The story goes that one time, Burton inadvertently insulted the appearance of Taylor’s hands, after which she demanded the diamond to make up for the slight. ‘That insult last night is going to cost me,’ Burton wrote in his diary.

Lloyd’s did insure the diamond but had conditions, such as that Taylor could only wear it for 30 days or less every year in public, and she always had to be accompanied by security guards when she wore it.

When a jeweler in Wilmington, North Carolina offered to refund $50,000 of customer sales if it snowed more than 3 inches on Christmas Day only in nearby Asheville, North Carolina, he also backed up his claim with a Lloyd’s policy. It snowed 8 inches that Christmas, and he was collected on the claim.

The most famous artwork in the best museums and galleries in the world are also covered, but one cautionary tale revolves around the legendary Leonardo da Vinci cartoon of the Virgin and Child at the National Gallery. When a crank caller threatened the cartoon, Lloyd’s underwriters mandated that the priceless cartoon be protected by Perspex sheeting. That request was out of the ordinary in the art world but paid off big, when not long after, a German tourist threw a bottle of ink at the cartoon on display, attempting to destroy it. But the ink got no further than the Perspex protected it, vindicating Lloyd’s and saving the art.

Famous palettes:
Lloyd’s of London even insures the senses and palettes of famous food and wine connoisseurs, like food critic Egon Ronay, whose taste buds are insured for $400,000.

World-renowned restaurant critic Egon Ronay insured his palate with Lloyd’s for several hundred thousand dollars.

When you are charged with tasting coffee for an industry giant like Costa Coffee, you’ll want an insurance policy on your sense for $10 million, like famous taster Gennaro Pelliccia has.

Dutch winemaker Ilja Gort, out of Bordeaux, France, insured his nose for $8 million through Lloyd's in 2008. Reportedly, Gort’s nose can discern millions of different scents and as a condition of his policy, he can’t endanger himself by participating in winter sports, boxing, or fire breathing.

Voices and musicians:
Plenty of musical stars have insured their voices and playing abilities, starting with starlet Marlene Dietrich, who insured her iconic voice for $1 million.

To ensure he never gets injured and can’t keep playing guitar, Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones insured his hands for $1.6 million with Lloyd’s.

Bruce Springsteen’s insured his voice for 3.5 million Pounds.

Gene Simmons, lead singer of KISS who is known for his painted face and alarmingly long tongue, insured that asset back in the 1970s for $1 million.

Safe bets?
In decades past, insuring against a wedding being canceled due to a natural disaster illness, death, or terrorist attack may have been out of the realm of believability. However, these days, with the average cost of a wedding nearing $30,000 in the U.S., wedding insurance with Lloyd’s of London has grown more commonplace. They even have insurance coverage against a bride or groom left standing at the altar!

A couple in Michigan insured themselves against having twins – and collected on the policy when they indeed birthed twins! But even crazier, they insured themselves again when pregnant a second tie, and had a second set of twins! I think even Lloyd’s is probably reticent to insure them in the future!

The TV show, "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire," has taken out an insurance policy against the possibility of multiple million-dollar winners in a row, which could put them out of business.

Employers can actually take out insurance policies against their employees winning the lottery on a shared ticket, which might result in a good portion of their employees all quitting on the same day.

Insuring famous hair:
Legendary Vegas singer Tom Jones insured his chest hair for $7 million, claiming that displaying it prominently was part of his act.

Forty members of the Derbyshire Whiskers Club insured their beards against fire damage…or theft!

Brady White, who is the professional Santa Claus stand-in every Christmas time at Macy’s, insured his white beard with Lloyd’s.

If you’ve seen him in Head and Shoulders commercials, then it’s no surprise that ex-NFL standout Troy Polamalu insures his curly locks for $1 million.

Just plain weird and bizarre:
Few insurance policies could be more obscure than attempted by iconic movie director Stanley Kubrick, who tried to take out an insurance policy with Lloyd’s in the event that his movie, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ flopped because extraterrestrial life was discovered before his movie premiered. Although it seems like easy premiums for Lloyd’s for whatever reason, they refused.

You can take out an insurance policy in case you die or are injured from a coconut falling and hitting you in the head! In fact, about 150 people a year all over the world meet their maker that way. And a UK travel company did take out a policy on its clients, so when a tourist was hit on the head while visiting Sri Lanka, they had to pay out, though she did live and was fine.

When Hollywood was first blossoming thanks to the new moving pictures industry in the early 1900s, a movie company once took out an insurance policy with Lloyd’s in event that theater audiences literally died of laughter.

In the 1970s, the Scottish whisky maker Cutty Sark offered a $1.5 million reward for anyone who caught the legendary Loch Ness Monster. The company actually took out an insurance policy with Lloyd’s in the event that someone did find it, though the monster had to be at least 20-feet long and verified as the real thing by the National History Museum.


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