Insuring Body Parts

“Most of us have seen and heard of body part coverage,” says Mark Petersen, a partner of Petersen International Underwriters based in Valencia, Calif. Petersen International Underwriters provides customized disability insurance for Lloyd’s of London.

“We’ve seen entertainers whose legs have been insured, an entertainer whose rear-end is insured, the smiles of famous people insured, the hands of great boxers insured, and more recently, a football player whose hair is insured… it’s the voices of singers, the taste buds of wine and tea connoisseurs.”

But entertainers aren’t the only people who could be concerned with body part coverage. According to Petersen, it’s not uncommon for a skilled surgeon to seek coverage for his hands, which are directly related to their income and livelihood.

According to Lyold’s of London, 1920s Silent film comedian Ben Turpin famously bought a $25,000 insurance policy with Lloyd’s, payable if his trademark crossed eyes ever uncrossed. 1930s Jimmy ‘the Schnozzle’ Durante’s infamously large nose was insured by Lloyd’s for $140,000 And in no particular order: Marlene Dietrich insured her vonderful voice for $1m and years later, Bruce Springsteen insured his for £3.5m; Bette Davis insured her tiny waist against weight gain to the tune of $28,000; and 1940s actress, dancer and pin-up girl Betty Grable insured her stupendous pins for $1,000,000.

Since Dolly Parton has insured her reputedly 40DD breasts for £3.8m; Rolling Stones’ guitarist Keith Richards’ hands are insured for $1.6m; and, movingly, James Dean took out a policy on his life for $100,000 just a week before his tragic death at the age of 25.

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