2008 Insurance Guide
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insurance
Not your typical insurance policy

That nose, that mouth. Ilja Gort, a Dutch winemaker who owns Bordeaux's Chateau de la Garde vineyard, recently insured his nose for a cool $7.8 million "to reflect the value of his nose to his business," says Jonathan Thomas, lead underwriter for the Watkins Syndicate of Lloyd's of London. But his policy is not just for show. Coverage will cost the oenophile roughly $23,000 annually.

But it's worth it to Gort. "He is adamant that the only thing he needs to do his job is his nose," says Thomas.

Perfumers and tea samplers (the people who taste and test various types of tea) will sometimes take out similar types of policies, says Thomas. Before writing the policy, the carrier will often send the individual to an ear, nose and throat specialist to set a baseline for their olfactory abilities. The person will smell what appear to be "a whole lot of felt-tip pens" that have been imbued with various scents. "And some are pretty extreme smells that you can't fake," Thomas says.

British wine taster Angela Mount insured her sense of taste, which included a combination of her taste buds and nose, for roughly $19.8 million U.S. at current exchange rates, says Thomas. The annual premium was equal to more than $39,000.

Those gams. A 20-something leg model (who estimated she had another five to seven years in her career), insured her valuable gams for $989,000 -- a realistic estimate of what she can expect to earn during that time, says Thomas. Her annual insurance bill: about $3,500.

And when supermodel Heidi Klum signed a deal to promote Epilady, Thomas says the product's manufacturer, Braun, took out its own million-dollar policy on those famous legs "to protect her contract."

That ankle. Remember Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa's 1998 race to break Roger Maris' home run record? What you may not have known is that there was a special policy on Mark McGwire's ankle, according to Thomas.

Apparently, the Cardinals had insurance on McGwire, but the underwriter wouldn't include the would-be home run king's ankle, which was giving him trouble at the time. So Thomas says Lloyd's stepped in with a policy to cover only that specific body part.

But writing a policy for just an ankle is a lot more complicated than you might imagine, he says. To draft it, they had to set out, in detail, which tendons and ligaments were included in the definition of "ankle."

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