While explaining the basic concept of insurance during a training session, my trainees were almost falling off to sleep. Gosh, I never knew I could be so boring that I actually put them to sleep. So, I thought of spicing up the monotonous topic by some well known examples.
"So… are you aware that Lata Mangeshkar has insured her voice?"... is the question I put forward to them. All of them looked at me with a surprise! And my work was done… they were listening to me
The obvious question that was raised by Sanjay, a bright trainee at the session was, "How can someone's voice be insured, since it defies the basic definition of insurance?" With a smile on my face, I asked them what they mean by the basic definition of insurance to which they replied that any asset can be insured if the loss of the same is associated with a financial loss.
If Lata Mangeshkar dies, then it is definitely a financial loss to her family but how do they suffer if she loses her voice?
The answer to that question was hidden in the basic definition they themselves provided. Well, Lata Mangeshkar thought that if her voice is lost, it would create a huge amount of financial loss to her and all the people involved from the producers to the music directors to those people who have signed her for live concerts, etc. etc. And since it is associated with financial loss, it can definitely be insured.
The general insurance companies
do this type of insurance and, usually, the policy is for a year and renewed thereafter. Body part insurance is usually an add-on cover to the general accident and disability plan by insurers. Premiums are higher than a life cover for this type of insurance.
This insurance is still at its nascent stage in India and is customized depending upon the individuals. However, abroad, this type of insurance is like a lifestyle of the rich and famous. Footballer David Beckham had his body insured for 100 million pounds while singers like Mariah Carey and Jennifer Lopez have insured their bodies for $1 billion each in recent years.
Following Lata Mangeshkar, we have other examples like Sania Mirza, the famous tennis star, has insured her arms while the Vanguard Olympic bronze medalist boxer, Vijender Singh, is contemplating doing the same. Since arms are a very important part of both tennis and boxing, the stars have insured the same.
Stanger still, people in the western world have gone ahead to insure their body parts like moustache (Merv Hughes, cricket player) and chest hair (Tom Jones, singer) as well. Even taste experts have insured their taste buds, since they would lose their job and importance if their taste buds are destroyed and that would definitely be a financial loss to their respective families!
However, since there is no set table of charts and such policies are always customized according to the requirement of the celebrity, so the premium is usually very high which gets renewed every year.
However strange it may sound, yes, body part insurance, and especially of celebrities is definitely a very common practice in the western world, although not too popular in India yet! The trend has set in and is also catching up very soon.
The author is the CEO of MyInsuranceClub.com, an online insurance price & features comparison portal
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You may write to the author at Deepak@myinsuranceclub.com