Cavalcade of Risk, plus a look at celebrity body parts and the matter of risk

February 13th, 2008 by Julie Ferguson

Cavalcade of Risk #45
is now posted at I’ve Paid For This Twice Already…, a blog that intriguingly describes itself as being “From financial imprisonment to financial independence, a penny at a time. This is one family’s story.” It’s a good healthy issue, lots of posts covering a variety or risk-related matters.
And while we’re on the topic of risk, one rather fascinating insurance-related item turned up in our mailbox this week that we can’t resist sharing: Supposedly, erstwhile heartthrob Tom Jones has his chest hair insured. Despite the press coverage, we don’t know if this story is fact or fiction, although it’s been making the news lately. We couldn’t verify, but a Google search turned up an older Risk & Insurance article entitled Insuring the flesh, a discussion with Jonathan Thomas, the man who underwrites celebrity body parts coverage for Lloyd’s of London. Lloyd’s is famous for being a firm with a reputation for insuring unorthodox risks. From star athletes and singers to circus performers and food critics, there are any number of celebrities who find it makes sense to insure a particular asset. In the interview, Thomas separates fact from fiction as he discusses this rather esoteric niche in risk management. Here’s just a sampling: Fiction: Jennifer Lopez insures her rear end. Fact: Marlene Dietrich insured her celebrated legs.
Slate magazine also ran an article billed as a primer on body parts insurance, which notes that you don’t have to be a celebrity to insure a particular body part – provided you’re willing to ante up the premium. They offer examples: In the United Kingdom, the members of the Derbyshire Whiskers Club insured their beards against “fire and theft,” and a soccer fan insured himself against psychic trauma if England loses this year’s World’s Cup.
These articles sent us scurrying to the Lloyd’s Web site to look for more. While a cursory search didn’t turn up much in the way of celebrity fare, we did find some interesting items that might be instructive to insurance geek and layman alike:

There are also some interesting historical articles about the Lloyd’s chronology from the 1700s on – a glimpse into the early years of our industry.