Taylor Swift’s '$40 Million' Legs And The Secrets Of Celebrity Body Part Insurance
Imagine you're a celeb and you have a body part that you've decided is "your thing." You know -- your butt, your hands, maybe your legs (hey, Taylor). Maybe you've decided this body part needs a little taking-care-of -- just in case something were ever to happen to it. You might decide you want to get it insured.
MTV News spoke to Laura Guerin of Tokio Marine Kiln Group Limited, one of the world's preeminent specialist and corporate insurance companies, to get the scoop. Guerin and her team work with Lloyd's of London, a specialized insurance market that's known throughout the world for its involvement in body part insurance -- and she gave us an exclusive inside look into the process:
Guerin said that first, a celeb (or their agent) goes to a broker who helps them figure out the whole insurance situation. They'll have to talk about what body part the celeb wants insured, ideally for how much, and if she wants it just for an event (e.g. VMAs, Grammys) -- or forever.
Guerin's company will then take a look at the celeb's lifestyle. Is this celeb a bad-boy type or goody-goody? Does this celeb smoke, drink, do drugs, or XTREME activities? The more the celeb puts herself at risk, the less money she'll probably receive if she gets hurt.
For this one, MTV News spoke to Gemma Howorth, a hand model based in the United Kingdom who also owns her own body-part modeling agency, Body London. She's had her legs, feet and hands insured.
When I asked about reports that her hands were actually insured for 5 million pounds (over 7 million U.S. Dollars), she said, "around about." Casual.
The model, whose hands have appeared in Vogue Japan, MCM advertisements and as a hand double for Kate Moss, explained why she decided to get her hands insured three years ago through Lloyd's of London.
"I did it because my hands are my livelihood and my career and I’m very well known for it," she explained, "so I need to keep them perfect and look after them just in case, God forbid, anything happened. If I’d break a finger or break my wrist, then I couldn’t work for a long time."
Gemma says that body part insurance isn't just for models. "I know a few photographers who have their eyes insured, or one of their eyes insured because that’s the eye that they use, which is quite interesting," she said, "But I guess it doesn’t apply to people in everyday life who have normal jobs who think, ‘I have nice hands, I’m going to insure them!’ You can’t really insure them because you’ve got nothing being paid; you’re not making any money [off those body parts]"
In certain cases, companies want celebrities to get insurance. If a celeb is shooting a commercial where she's windsurfing or rock-climbing for example, the brand might think it's good for her to have some protection in case she has an accident.
It all depends on the celebrity's career. Here are some examples:
- Facial and/or body scarring. Guerin said that fashion models often choose this, since their income heavily relies on their hotness.
- Loss of voice. Usually singers do this in case they lose their voice permanently.
- Noses, tongues. The people who take out this kind of insurance are "typically chefs, sommeliers [and] food critics who rely on their smell and taste senses to make a living," Guerin said.
- Loss of fingers. Piano players usually take out this kind of insurance since they need their hands to perform.
The short answer is: it depends. Each celebrity's career, wants and needs are different, and their insurance will reflect that. Gemma says it best -- "It's not cheap."
Historically, body part insurance has been like the unicorn of the insurance world, because nobody knows if it's real or not. This stuff goes way back; in the first half of the 20th century, it was believed that screen siren Bette Davis had her waistline insured for $28,000.
Is all this stuff legit? We can confirm that it is a) very real and b) really f--king complicated.
Which body part would you insure (if you could)? Let us know in the comments!