People & Partners CEO, Jeffrey J. Whittaker, has seen some bizarre insurance cover created during his long career in the industry, including celebrity insurance policies. We asked him to list the weirdest ones, and Jeff was able to recall so many entertaining examples that we’ll have enough to create a series of blogs. In this edition, we look at some of the most famous examples of outlandish insurance policies for entertainers (real and fictional!).
Mickey Mouse’s birthday cake, David Beckham’s legs, Marilyn Monroe’s body, Michael Jackson’s cancellation of concerts (when he was alive)…what has this got to do with insurance?
Over the last 52 years I have actually seen insurance policies written on these bizarre and unrelated subjects. They were all valid insurance policies and all of them had expensive premiums.
Lets look at Marilyn Monroe’s body first. While she was alive, it seemed the whole world was looking! At the risk of objectifying her, it has to be said that men and women the world over saw Marilyn as the ultimate Hollywood bombshell. Norma Jean was my pin-up as a kid. I wasn’t the only one to be obsessed – allegedly her appeal was powerful enough to attract the attention of a former U.S. president!
The film studio she worked for thought she was a very valuable asset so they took out an insurance policy with Lloyds of London for 1 Million dollars, in case she had an accident or illness which disfigured her great looks and curvy body. Tragically she died at the peak of her career, but the policy on her looks was never claimed on. This policy is arguably the most famous example of celebrity insurance policies.
Footballers have always been heavily insured against death or injury in their short professional careers, but I remember David Beckham’s legs being separately and heavily insured by Manchester United.
Again the policy was created by Lloyds of London. I can’t remember the exact amount but I know this much: each leg was deemed more expensive than Marilyn Monroe’s body!
Mickey Mouse’s Birthday Cake (when the character turned 50 years old) was a weird one. Disney Studios came up with a gimmick to send a birthday cake to anyone in the world who had the exact same birthday as Mickey (the date of his first cartoon film being shown in The States).
The Mouse cake would be sent if proof of date of birth was sent to the studios, and a cake would be dispatched to the person’s location, regardless of where that person lived. They didn’t expect many people to respond to this offer but in fact, they had quite a few to send. Again this policy was insured with Lloyds of London. When it comes to crazy celebrity insurance policies, this was one that the insurer may have regretted. I don’t think they made a profit on that one!
The late, great Michael Jackson was prone to cancel his concerts occasionally, and these random cancelations became so numerous that promoters became increasingly concerned with the risk. They usually insured his Mega Tours against individual cancellations – again mostly with Lloyds of London.
I’m not sure if they made a profit on these insurance covers but it was certainly high profile advertising for the Lloyds syndicate concerned.
All these crazy celebrity insurance policies are called contingency policies. If an event happens (or does not happen) and a financial loss ensues, then it can be covered under a valid insurance policy regardless of how bizarre or crazy it seems!
Jeffrey James Whittaker is a veteran of the insurance industry who has worked with large clients on high value, high profile ‘Mega Projects’ such as sky trains, subway systems, hydro-electric dams and various oil/gas projects, both on-shore and off-shore.