Entertainment companies and sports teams regularly supply general disability insurance for their stars. Just like the average employer-paid disability insurance, these policies cover illnesses or injuries — to any body part — that result in an ability to work. So what’s the deal with these headline-grabbing “body part” insurance policies we frequently see mentioned on the gossip blogs? Are they just publicity stunts?
Yes and no. The massive amounts of money involved grab headlines, but the policies are real, often obtained through the “excess and surplus lines” insurance market. Excess and surplus lines are the risks standard companies won’t take — either extremely high value, or excessive or unusual risks. Lloyd’s of London is one company famous for this sort of insurance, historically insuring Jimmy Durante’s nose, and more recently Playmate Holly Madison’s breasts.
Below, more celebrities whose body parts are worth a lot more than yours:
Dolly Parton’s breasts: $600,000
You might think country music’s most famous curves would be valued at something more than $600,000, but Dolly Parton took out the policy on her breasts in the 1970s. Adjusted for inflation, they’d now be worth nearly $2 million each.
Troy Polamalu’s hair: $1 million
Troy Polamalu is as well-known for his flowing locks as his skill with a football. The safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers has not cut his hair in over a decade, and wears the unique style in tribute to his Samoan ancestors. Which is not to say he doesn’t benefit, as well; Polamalu endorses Head & Shoulders shampoo, whose parent company Proctor and Gamble ponied up for a million-dollar insurance policy on the famous mane.
Heidi Klum’s legs: $2 million
Legs are fairly common in the insured-appendages market. Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Tina Turner all have policies on their famous gams, but there’s only one set we know of that values one leg at $200,00 more than the other. In 2004, razor company Braun insured supermodel Heidi Klum’s legs for around $2 million. London’s Phillips de Pury and Company wrote the policy, and, says Klum, valued the legs separately. She told Showbiz Spy, “I was in London, and I had to go to this place where they check out your legs. They would look at them and I had one scar here from when I fell on a glass, so this [left leg] isn’t as pricey as this [right] one.”
Rod Stewart’s voice: $6 million
Rod Stewart had throat surgery in 2000 which he feared had caused him to lose his voice. It’s not technically a body part, but the gravelly-voiced singer is now protected to the tune of $6 million in case something does cause him to lose his distinct vocal abilities. Another raspy-voiced rocker, Bruce Springsteen, is reportedly insured against voice loss for a similar amount.
Musician Jeff Beck accidentally sliced the top joint on the first finger of his left hand last year while slicing carrots. Well, it could happen to anyone, right? He did what most of us would — put the bit of finger on ice and raced to the hospital, where it was successfully reattached. Most of us aren’t guitar legends, however. After recovering, Beck upped the already hefty hand insurance he carried from $2 million — a million per hand — to a million dollars per finger.
David Beckham’s legs (and looks): $70 million
The British soccer legend has what may be the largest personal insurance policy in sports history. He took out his own insurance policy in 2006, insuring his legs for 44 million pounds sterling — around $70 million. Reportedly, Beckham will receive the payout in the event of an injury to his legs, feet, or toes that result in his inability to play soccer. The policy is also rumored to cover disfigurement. That famous Armani ad doesn’t exactly focus on the chiseled athlete’s feet, after all.
Santa’s Beard: priceless
“Santa to the Stars” Brady White has a Lloyd’s policy on his beard reportedly in the six figures, but White himself will disclose neither the amount of the insurance nor his age. One can only assume that if something happened to Santa’s beard, Santa’s contracts with retailers such as Neiman Marcus and Cartier might not be quite so lucrative.