Weird Insurance Policies
Individuals often carry several different types of insurances policies including automobile, health, life and homeowners. Businesses purchase insurance as well, such as commercial auto, liability, property and workers compensation policies. All of these policies are standard fare within the insurance industry. Every now and then, however, certain policies are written that draw attention since they are so unusual.
Cross-eyed comedian and actor, Ben Turpin (1869 – 1940), known for his work in silent films, was the first celebrity to insure a body part: he purchased a $25,000 policy with Lloyd's of London that would pay if his eyes ever uncrossed. Since then many celebrities and the companies they endorse have gained attention for the weird insurance policies they have to protect their most famous and important assets.
TUTORIAL: Intro To Insurance
Troy Polamalu's Hair
Troy Aumua Polamalu was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft. A strong safety, Polamalu is known for his hard-hitting style on the field, which helped him earn the 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. In addition to his athletic prowess, Polamalu is readily recognized on the field by his luxuriant hair which cascades down his back.
After Procter & Gamble signed on Polamalu in 2010 to endorse its Head & Shoulders shampoo, the company took out a one million dollar insurance policy with Lloyd's to protect against hair loss. The policy, which will pay out if Polamalu sustains losses to more than 60% of his hair in an accident, specifies that the football player cannot engage in fire breathing or climb Mount Everest. (For related reading, see 6 Alternatives To Health Insurance.)
America Ferrera's Smile
Ugly Betty star, America Ferrera's smile was insured in 2007 for $10 million at Lloyd's. Aquafresh, makers of Aquafresh White Trays, an at-home teeth whitening product, paid to insure the actress's smile as Ferrera began working with the company to promote the United States charity, Smiles for Success. The organization provides free dental care to women who are making a transition from public assistance to the workforce.
Mariah Carey's Legs
American R&B/pop singer-songwriter, Mariah Carey is best known for her five-octave range and melismatic singing style. She is one of the biggest-selling artists in musical history, having sold more than 200 million albums, singles and videos worldwide. Carey is also known for her great legs. In 2006, women's razor brand, Gillette Venus named Carey the first "Celebrity Legs of a Goddess" as part of a nationwide promotion. Following this designation, Gillette reportedly insured Carey's legs for $1 billion.
David Beckham's Legs
In 2006, soccer great David Beckham's legs were insured for £100 million (equal to about $195 million at the time). The policy was considered to be the largest personal insurance policy for a sports figure in history, and due to its size, was reportedly was taken out by several companies. The policy protected not only Beckham's legs, feet and toes, but also his good looks. Beckham, after all, earned his keep not just by being an iconic soccer hero, but also through various commercial deals. The policy would reportedly pay in the event Beckham was unable to play soccer or in the event of disfigurement.
Daniel Craig's Body
British actor, Daniel Craig took out a £5 million insurance policy to protect against losses to his body. The actor, who was adamant about doing his own stunts in the 2006 James Bond movie, Casino Royale, took out the policy due to the risks involved in the stunt work. The actor continued to perform his own stunts for the 2008 Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, and is slated for three more Bond films, Bond 23 (2012), Bond 24 (2014) and Bond 25.
TUTORIAL: Other Insurance Policies
The Bottom Line
At first glance, these celebrity insurance policies appear to be expressions of vanity. But just like the rest of us insure our health, cars and homes, these stars and the companies that they endorse, want to protect their assets. In 2004, a supermarket took out a $10 million policy on the taste buds of its senior wine buyer. Wine sales increased by 19% in response to the media coverage. In addition to the monetary value of the insurance policy, these weird policies can generate valuable publicity for both the celebrity and the company. (Learn how to read one the most important documents you own. For more, see Understanding Your Insurance Contract.)