Came across this interesting article on insurance -
From The Buffalo Law Journal - Daniel Meyer, Freelance writer
When you think about the insurance industry and the myriad policies designed to provide protection and peace of mind, some standard forms of coverage immediately come to mind: automobile, life and homeowners.
But there are creative insurance policies, as well, some so downright unusual that even the most experienced insurance agents scratch their heads in amazement at the quirky nature of these forms of risk management.
Michael Agliata, an underwriter and team leader for LoVullo Associates Inc. in Depew, said he has a lengthy list of uncommon requests for insurance policies.
"The way things are today, we have seen and heard just about anything that you can imagine. Some are very curious and some can end up being very costly," he said, "but you will find people who are bound and determined to obtain coverage for something that is very important to them."
In their eyes, insurance isn't simply a a contract or a simple transaction. Their purchase of a policy represents peace of mind that if something unfortunate occurs, they will be protected.
High-priced body parts
Industry sources say there are numerous body parts of celebrities protected by a policy. Popular figures, both past and present, took the unusual step of insuring their favorite features. And the costs can be mind-boggling. Singer Mariah Carey's legs, for example, allegedly carry $1 billion in coverage.
Other reported coverages include:
• Actress/singer Jennifer Lopez's rear end, $27 million;
• Soccer star David Beckham's legs, $70 million;
• KISS rocker Gene Simmons' tongue, $1 million;
• Model Claudia Schiffer's face, $5 million;
• Reality TV star Holly Madison's surgically enhanced breasts, $1 million;
• The eyes of cross-eyed silent film actor Ben Turpin, $25,000.
Indeed, when Edward Lloyd founded Lloyd's of London, he probably never imagined his insurance business would become known for insuring body parts of the rich and famous, including some of those listed above.
Zoo dung, ant farms, pet lions
Agliata reads the list of policy requests he has heard about, knowing full well there are likely to be more wild and wacky proposals he will have to draw up in an industry where "quirky quotes" are becoming more common.
"We have handled things that are truly out there, from insuring an ant farm, a worm farm and piles and piles of what became known as zoo poop, which was actually elephant feces that was converted into fertilizer for composting," he said.
"We also had a situation with a client who had a pet lion on Long Island, and we dealt with the storage and security of the championship banners for the New York Yankees when they were going through the process of their new stadium construction. Things you would never even begin to imagine have been insured," Agliata said. "There are actually some instances where we analyze the situation and talk people out of taking on a policy for something they really do not need insurance for."
Organizers of seasonal festivals, lawn fetes and the like have been known to seek extensive, descriptive policies that protect the volunteers and nonprofit organizations that annually coordinate such events.
"We can insure against event cancellation due to bad weather or some kind of major storm, so if there is a major catastrophe there is coverage and peace of mind for those type of freak events," Agliata said.
Chickens, sheep and mobile nail care
There are numerous other policy proposals that have been pitched to insurance agents across Western New York. Rodney Tobin, a life associate agent at Nationwide Gallego Agency, said he has seen and heard it all.
"This past year we were contacted by a hobby farmer who needed liability coverage and certificates for distributing his processed chickens and sheep to two area food co-op markets," Tobin said.
"He had the chickens and lamb processed, wrapped and frozen for market sale. He needed a special liability coverage rider that our agri-business farm policy could provide."
When existing businesses expand, additional coverage often is required.
"A customer who expanded her nail care business to elderly clients in retirement and nursing homes needed a special endorsement for liability extended to cover her at the different locations," he said. "She needed professional and business coverage and certificates wherever she provided service."
Raising the roof
As president and COO of Walsh Duffield Cos. in Buffalo, Edward "Ted" Walsh Jr. chuckles when relating the story of an unusual policy here in Western New York.
"This one was before my time here, but as a company we were involved with the Aud (former Buffalo Memorial Auditorium) and their expansion project in the 1970s when they literally raised the 2,200-ton roof of the building to make room for more seats to increase the capacity of the arena," Walsh said. "With the way the wind whistles and blows downtown, it was a tricky situation and a tough project. It was an unusual circumstance that we handled with a builders' risk policy, which is a property insurance policy that is designed to cover property during the course of construction. That may not be as provocative as the body parts of celebrities, but it was a major thing for us and the city of Buffalo, especially at that time."
Alien abduction, extortion
As bizarre as it may sound, there are alien-abduction insurance policies being sold, mostly throughout Europe.
Also on the rise are policies to protect individuals and the companies they work for from possible extortion.
In addition, some people who frequently travel outside the United States have been known to obtain policies that provide protection in case of a kidnapping attempt, including a subsequent ransom demand.
Local insurance agents say they understand the desire for coverage, no matter how strange a request for a policy may seem, if for nothing else than to be able to sleep soundly.
"Insurance is an inexpensive way to give people peace of mind," said Jeffrey Leyonmark, president of GA Leyonmark Insurance Services of Orchard Park. "Let's face it — we live in a litigious society. That's a fact. It is also a fact that insurance is not normally an exciting topic and it can at times be complicated, frustrating and in some instances it can be quite expensive, especially for all of these weird and funky things."
Agliata said the ultimate goal is helping clients obtain a level of satisfaction.
"Insurance is just one tool of risk management," he said. "It is obtaining peace of mind, even if it means taking out a policy for an exotic pet like a lion or a specific body part of a celebrity. What you are doing is paying for something that you hope you never have to use. But by having it, you are purchasing protection in case the unexpected does happen."
...whoever said insurance wasn't important or at least interesting?