Mathematics with Business Applications
Business Math in Action
Some Policies Are Out of This World
Protection. Thats what insurance is all about-protecting you from financial disaster in case of theft, fire, injury, or other calamity. But what if you make your living doing something unusual? Suppose youre a pianist, a professional dancer, or a pro golfer. Can you insure your fingers, your feet, your swing?
You can. Surgeons routinely insure their hands, and performers insure whichever part of their body is most valuable. World War II pinup Betty Grable insured her legs for $1.25 million, and 60 years later celebrities are still buying leg insurance: Mary Hart, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Lord of the Dance Michael Flatley have all held policies. Bruce Springsteen insured his voice for $6 million, and British food critic Egon Ronay has insured his taste buds for $400,000.
But when it comes to odd insurance policies, everyday folks take the prize. They are the ones buying the Alien All Risks policy offered by London-based insurance company Goodfellows. The policy applies if an alien abducts you or inserts a microchip into your body. Half the policies are bought as jokes, but the other buyers are serious, says Goodfellows managing partner Simon Burgess.
Goodfellows also insures people against being attacked by the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, and offers policies that will protect you from financial ruin in case youre converted into an alien, werewolf, or vampire. While youre at it, you might want to purchase a policy that will help support your family if youre killed by a ghost or poltergeist.
Some insurance policies are taken out by people who seem extremely optimistic about their future. For example, Japanese golfers purchase hole-in-one insurance. In Japan, whoever gets a hole in one is expected to send gifts to all his or her friends, and it can end up costing thousands of dollars. It takes a confident golfer to buy hole-in-one insurance, considering that the odds of an amateur making a hole in one are 1 in 12,000. Meanwhile, optimistic British employers buy insurance to protect the company in case two or more employees win the UK national lottery and dont return to work.
Finally, there are insurance policies that protect people against their own personalities. The comedy team Abbott and Costello had a policy that would pay benefits if they had an argument and refused to work with each other. And in the oddest twist of all, the Peoples Insurance Company of China offers couples a policy that essentially bribes them to stay married: If you divorce, you lose all your premiums, but if the marriage lasts 25 years, you get a big payout.