We’ve all heard stories of celebrities insuring body parts. But just how real are these stories, what happens if they do insure those body parts and they eventually need to cash in them and what else can you insure?
Understanding the History of Insurance
The history of insurance is rooted in maritime trade. Merchants would ship tons of expensive goods all over the world, constantly running the risk that these trading ships would be sunk and their goods wold be lost. It wasn’t unheard of for entire companies to go bust because a single storm took out a fleet of ships in this manner.
There were means they could us to try and insure their goods against complete loss, such as spreading them across multiple fleets and routes, but eventually companies began to offer them an alternative. These companies would take payment for the traders and would promise to cover their losses in the event that a storm destroyed everything. The first contracts of this kind were drafted in the 14th century in Genoa, but they would later become a mainstay of the modern British empire.
Life insurance may officially predate maritime insurance, at least as far as the modern understanding of it goes, and prior to the British creating an insurance industry with Lloyd’s of London, there were also forms of property insurance.
What Can you Insure?
Modern insurance is based around a few basic niches. You can buy insurance for life and health, you can insure against property damage and car damage, and you can also insure a business and a pet, among other things. These are the areas in which the general public will concern themselves with but what about the celebrities we hear about insuring body parts?
This is possible and it’s actually relatively easy for everyone to do, but in the case of celebrities, it’s usually publicity stunt. If a celebrity insures a body part for millions then the media usually jumps on it and plasters them (and their insured body part) all over the newspapers. For instance, a supermarket once spread a story about how it insured the tastebuds of their leading wine buyer for $10 million, simply as a way to generate publicity for their wine business.
Usually, the insurance is taken out by someone who has a vested interested in the celebrity. Sports teams will insure their players against injury. These insurances are usually broad and all-encompassing, but may be limited to specific areas. The ones who do insure specific parts end to go through Lloyd’s of London, who have insured Michael Flatley’s legs in the past.
In these cases, the premiums tend to be much higher because you’re not insuring yourself against disease or illness and the policies may dictate that you can cash in if there are burns, cuts, scars or even non-career threatening fractures.
The policy will dictate what is insured, how much is insured and how in-depth it goes. This policy is as customizable as the person wants it to be and as the insurance company will allow it to be. Just don’t expect to get this sort of treatment by contacting your local insurance company.