Lloyd’s “Chest Hair” Policy Makes News

June 17, 2004

Nearly every news service in the world has picked up on the story about Lloyd’s underwriter Jonathan Thomas, who created a policy covering the loss of an unnamed male model’s chest hair.

Thomas, who underwrites for a syndicate managed by Creechurch, reportedly drafted a four-page policy, spelling out the details of the coverage and the loss criteria. A valid claim would require that the insured, in the opinion of two independent medical consultants, suffer a loss of more than “85 percent of his hair covering the front of his torso.”

Thomas told AFP, “We drafted a policy wording that would try to objectively measure whether they would have a loss. The key thing with these sorts of policies is not the breadth of coverage, it’s actually being able to justify financially that someone would suffer that sort of loss if they lost their chest hair.”

So far there’s been no word on whether the policy has been accepted and put into force, nor has the identity of the would-be insured been revealed. Thomas pointed out that, while such policies may appear unusual, they address special and sometimes unique circumstances, where the possibility of real monetary loss exists; for instance if the person were scheduled to pose for an advertising campaign.

The policy reportedly covers only “accidental bodily injury” and excludes a number of circumstances, including war, revolution, radioactive contamination and terrorism. It also proscribes the insured’s undertaking “dangerous activities”, which reportedly include pregnancy and childbirth – a particularly odd exclusion when applied to a man.

It’s refreshing to learn that for all of its recent reforms and stress on underwriting discipline Lloyd’s can still offer oddball specialized coverage. The “chest hair” policy in fact continues a centuries old tradition. Over the years Lloyd’s has insured everything from Formula 1 drivers (Michael Schumacher reportedly has one for $20 million) to movie stars’ legs and other body parts, as well as the attempt (successful) by a Frenchman to cross the English Channel in a bathtub.

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