The Wacky World of Celebrity Body Part Insurance
Celebrities insure the wackiest things. Allegedly. Now that’s key, because there’s little evidence to support most of the wild claims circulating involving billions in insurance policies taken out by self-aggrandising celebrities. And yet body part insurance is very real. It’s not just for celebrities, it’s for everyone. Usually an extension of disability and life insurance, body part insurance has a necessary place in the world of specialty insurance.
How Does Body Part Insurance Work?
Body part insurance is written by specialty underwriters who can create individualized policies. Not many firms do this sort of thing. The most noted insurer is Lloyd’s of London, who famously insured many celebrities against bodily injury on everything from moustaches to chest hair to vocal chords to sperm count. So how does it work exactly? Can J.Lo make a claim with Lloyds of London if she bumps her behind and gets a bruise? Not exactly.
Body part insurance is essentially a highly specialized type of disability insurance. Many entertainment companies, sports teams and TV networks insure their top performers against any type of injury that would render them unable to do their job for any period of time. This is how David Beckham’s legs could be worth a whopping US$195 million by an insurer’s valuation. Fans might not be so interested in watching his team play without its most important player. Armani might not be so interested in taking semi-nude photos of the star in his underwear if one of his legs was plastered into a cast. A few month’s recovery time could easily run up a tidy tab. And let’s not forget there is Victoria’s designer clothing habit to think of. For the most part, celebrity body part insurance is more practical that it sounds. When Daniel Craig signed on to do his own stunts in Casino Royale, Quantum of Solace and Skyfall, he allegedly took out a US$10 million dollar policy on his body. Really, how many times has 007 been blown up, run over, shot down and/or pronounced dead? A specialized insurance policy is just good business sense.
J.Lo’s Behind: Fact or Publicity Stunt?
For the most part, celebrity body part insurance is no more than a publicity stunt. Rumors abound about the various celebrities, particularly the ladies, who’ve insured their legs, bums and breasts for anywhere from $100,000 to a cool $1 billion. Very little has been proven. Before we go spreading more stories it would be nice to see some actual signatures on paper. Celebrity insurance is often paid for by a third-party, for example an advertiser, television network or some other party with a vested interest in the health of that body part. Aquafresh allegedly took out a $10 million policy with Lloyd’s of London on America Ferrera’s teeth when she took up the post as the face of their charity Smiles for Success. Insurance for a smile is much easier to swallow than insurance to J.Lo’s behind, an injury to which would hardly render her unable to do her job, save for the unlikely event that it was eaten by a tiger or got caught in a meat slicer. One UK civilian received widespread coverage when he was allegedly abducted by aliens for 40 minutes shortly after taking out alien abduction insurance. Turns out his partner was the author of the policy, which was no more than a finely crafted publicity stunt. Be skeptical. Be very skeptical.
When Can’t You Insure a Body Part?
Insurance policies of this nature are typically preceded by vast amounts of life and disability insurance. People who buy these types of policies are likely maxed out on both life and disability, and looking for a way to further protect their assets. Some jobs, people and professions are just too risky to insure. There’s a park ranger in Virginia who’s been struck by lightning seven times. People call him the human lightning rod. No insurance company will go near him. Free divers can’t insure their lungs. Diving to 400 ft on a single breath of air just too dangerous. Certain athletes are considered too high risk for insurance companies and deemed uninsurable. Competitive eater Takeru Kobayashi was deemed uninsurable after developing an arthritic jaw in 2007. Even if insurance is possible, for athletes it often comes with a range of exclusions relating to past accidents and injuries. Fact is, if you have enough money you can insure almost anything you want. Delve a little deeper into the world of insurance and you’ll be surprised what people will pay to insure their most treasured assets. For many people, insurance equals peace of mind. And if insurance brings a little more peace to our crazy, stressed-out world, where is the harm in that?