For the majority of us when it comes to arranging insurance cover it tends to amount to protecting a handful of primary assets. These typically take into account our homes, cars, health, pets, travel, income and of course, our lives. Nothing more, nothing less.
That’s normally the way we like to keep things (i.e, relatively simple). However all that mundane stuff goes straight out of the window if you so happen to be a Hollywood film director, a Scottish brewery, Tom Jones, the head honcho at Costa Coffee or perhaps just someone paranoid about being abducted by aliens.
Which would go some way to explaining just why the following folk took out a collection of frankly bizarre insurance policies to safeguard the more, how can we politely phrase it, unlikely scenarios from taking place and subsequently leaving us out of pocket. Or embarrassed. Or professionally/socially outcast.
In no particular order of oddity, the examples listed beneath cover a multitude of eventualities, some slightly more contrived than others it’s fair to say. The common denominator being that they’ll all – if nothing else – bring a smile to the face of the reader. Along with the wearing of a puzzled expression and/or the raising of one’s eyebrows. From the sublime to the ridiculous, come in and take a look at some of ‘the oddest things ever insured’….
First up was the case of revered film director, Stanley Kubrick; he who brought the likes of Clockwork Orange and Eyes Wide Shut to cinematic life over a hugely successful career which spanned decades.
However that success didn’t necessarily mean that insurance policy providers would oblige Kubrick willy-nilly, as he found when approaching one with a proposal that they insure against little green men being outed as real prior to the release of his impending 1968 opus, ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’. Which if you recall chronicled space travel and alien beings. Underwriters turned the iconic director down flat, which made some people question whether or not they knew something the rest of us didn’t?
Next up in this bitesize compendium of the weird and wonderful of would-be insurance policies follows in a similar vein to the abovementioned. In as much as Lloyd’s of London allude to the fact that some 60,000 policies have been agreed with direct regards to being abducted by alien life forms. Or for that matter-ish, turned into either a werewolf or vampire.
We guess you have to spare a financial thought for your nearest and dearest should a series of events which lead to you becoming compromised by a probe or the living dead be played out. In terms of those who live in constant fear of such – admittedly rare – episodes coming to bear, in 2011 it was reported that actress Shirley MacLaine (together with 20,000 other believers) had taken out dedicated alien abduction insurance, with her particular policy believed to be in the region of $25 million. For those of you with your feet planted a little bit firmer on the ground, you can insure yourself against the possibility of being injured by falling space debris and UFO crashes, just for the record.
And if you thought all that was a little freaky, how about this one. In the 1970s the Scottish whiskey company, Cutty Sark offered a $1.5 million reward to anyone who caught the infamous Loch Ness Monster. Which to any rightminded individual would seem like a safe bet to make, on account of the largely mythical dinosaur-like creature which supposedly lives in the deep Scottish loch geographically located in the highlands being just that; largely mythical.
However the whisky brewer must have had second thoughts or a premonition, as shortly after announcing the prize, the owners of Cutty Sark took out an insurance policy against finding the monster on the off chance the legend turned out to be true. And to make things even more exacting, should a fisherman pull in a Nessie-shaped haul and subsequently stake their claim to the prize then the insurers specified that the snagged creature had to be at least 20 feet long and verified to be the monster by the curators of the National History Museum. Suffice to say no claims have yet been filed.
Legendary Welsh performer and all-round entertaining exhibitionist, Tom Jones is perhaps known as well for his copious chest hair as he is for his capacious lungs used to belt out tune after tune. So it kinda makes sense that the voice from the valleys was once rumoured to have his perma-displayed chest carpet insured for the sum of $7 million dollars. Naturally – as was his body hair – Jones’ camp denied all knowledge of such salacious gossip. But whilst on the topic of body topiary, we do have it on good authority that Lloyd’s of London insure Santa Claus’ impressive white beard. Well, not the real Father Christmas (please see above for reasons), but rather the beard belonging to a guy called Brady White, who is the famous New York department store, Macy’s ‘professional’ and resident Santa.
Lottery winners eh. You wouldn’t have thought they needed to arrange an insurance policy now would you? But we’re not referring to the winners here, but instead the losers. Or as they’re better known, the former employers of those who win big on the lotto. Picture this; you’re a small business with a handful of employees. Half of them participate in a lottery syndicate and play every week.
What happens if they hit the jackpot and decide to pack in the day job? You’re down to half strength. Which is precisely where Lottery Winners Insurance rides to the rescue of employers suddenly left high and dry, as it essentially provides for things like paying for hiring temps and training new employees.
Qualifying criteria stresses that to claim an employer has to have parted company with at least two employees, both of whom have won at least $150,000 and have left their jobs within two weeks of the win. So odds are pretty long on that one. Or so you might have thought. But lo and behold just last year all 10 employees of a recruitment agency failed to turn up for work the next day after winning $50 million in the National Lottery as part of a work syndicate.
Finally and celebs insuring various body parts aren’t exactly unheard of, as anyone who knows anything about certain supermodels (legs), rock stars (private parts) and Mariah Carey (legs AND voice) will concur. However what about tongues? Good question. Did you know that noted restaurant critic, Egon Ronay and Costa Coffee’s renowned coffee-tasting expert, Gennaro Pelliccia both have their tongues insured for serious money.
The former for several hundred thousand dollars, the latter said to be in the region of $10 million. Which is even more impressive than tongue-extending 70s rock legend – and outrageous lead vocalist of Kiss – Gene Simmons allegedly insured his pre-Miley sticky-outy tongue for.