Afraid of being abducted by aliens? How about being reincarnated into an animal that you loathe? Perhaps you worry about injuring one of your signature body parts because your livelihood depends on your impeccable taste buds, soprano voice or sexy legs.
Not to worry. You can buy insurance for just about anything — including your voice, body and fears. Celebrities, sports stars, corporations and even the paranoid can buy themselves peace of mind in the event that their fears are realized.
If you’re among those worried about unexpected trips to outer space, Mike St. Lawrence will be happy to sell you alien abduction insurance. As president of UFO Abduction & Casualty Insurance Co., he’s sold policies to tens of thousands all over the world — including actress Shirley MacLaine and television host Larry King. A policy will cost you $25 for lifetime coverage. If you are abducted and manage to return, it promises up to $10 million in coverage to pay for medical and psychiatric care and the emotional distress you will suffer from being teased by friends and relatives.
This policy includes a “frequent-flyer endorsement” and also doubles your coverage if the aliens insist on conjugal visits.
“The premiums are very reasonable and you can’t be turned down because of your age or frequent-flyer status,” Lawrence says. “Only if you don’t have a sense of humor.”
Since its inception in 1987, the company has paid out two claims (both from New York state), says Lawrence. In the event of a claim, the company pays you $1 per year for 10 million to 20 million years, depending on the circumstances.
It’s a tough job, but they’re insured to do it
The famous aren’t the only ones who insure their body parts, says Moraga. Food critic and gourmet Egon Ronay bought a $400,000 insurance policy on his taste buds. The chief taster for Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream also insured his good taste, or at least his tasting ability, for $1 million.
Lloyd’s issued an almost equally “tasteful” insurance policy to a whiskey distiller who insured his nose.
Another item insured by Lloyd’s: the world’s largest cigar (weighing almost 240 lbs.), which took 315 hours to make using 15,903 full tobacco leaves and which would require 339 uninterrupted days and nights to smoke.
Companies insure the oddest things
The TV game show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” doesn’t want to pay if you win big, so they insure against having to pay major prizes through Lloyd’s.
Cutty Sark whiskey also bought a policy from Lloyd’s so it wouldn’t risk paying one million pounds to the winner of a contest. What was the whiskey company afraid of? That someone might capture the Loch Ness monster alive.
Many companies will also insure their top employees against dying or becoming disabled. It’s called “key person” or “key man” insurance. CEOs and CFOs are commonly insured, with any payouts going to their employers.
“Those key people, when they leave, can affect the whole company’s financial status,” Moraga says. “Microsoft has it for [Bill] Gates and Apple had it for Steve Jobs.”
Then are many other unique insurance products. For example, residents of northern Australia can purchase insurance against being attacked by crocodiles through the Northern Territory Insurance Office.