What comes to mind when consider insurance? Car insurance? House insurance? Well, sure. But there’s another world of weird, wacky and bizarre insurance out there. Afraid you might turn into a vampire or werewolf? There’s insurance for that too. Just call insurance giants, Lloyds of London.
Since 1688, that company has been to the insurance biz what outrageous innovator Richard Branson of Virgin Atlantic is to the business world. Thinking outside the box is standard fare for both. In fact, when Virgin came up with Virgin Galactic and began touting tourist space travel, Lloyds insured that too. With hundreds of years in the biz, perhaps it’s unsurprising that this particular insurance broker has faced some particularly odd claims. From their surprising history, we’ve selected some of the oddest.
For example, when Heidi Klum decided to insure those famous go on forever legs of hers, she had to fly to London to be “inspected” by underwriters. Underwriters were probably standing in line to check out those assets. At the end of the day, Heidi’s legs were valued at about half of the other one. Why? The less expensive leg has a tiny, tiny scar on it. Eventually a $2 million policy was issued to Proctor & Gamble who had hired Klum as a spokesperson.
Sometimes, insurers say no. When he was producing and directing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick approached the insurers with a proposal that they insure against space aliens being discovered before the film was released. The innovative 1968 film told the story of space travel and alien beings. Underwriters refused to approve the policy. Whether they knew something the rest of us don’t or whether they just thought the idea a little daft, we’ll never know.
10. Death by Falling Coconut
In 1984, Dr. Peter Brass published “Injury Due to Falling Coconut”. Brass did for the coconut what Spielberg’s Jaws did for sharks. He claimed, without much evidence, that 150 people a year die from being conked on the head by coconuts in places like Malaysia. (By the way, the study was awarded the ‘IgNoble Award’ for improbably research by Harvard University). After that, the poor old coconut was under siege. Innocent coconut trees in places like Australia were axed. And Club Direct, a UK travel company, was so concerned that it took out “injury by falling coconut insurance”. When one of their customers was conked on the head in Sri Lanka, there was an insurance pay out – though the knock wasn’t fatal and the girl survived to spend the money.