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Hire a hurdy-gurdy, parade your prized llama and plan that Bollywood-inspired wedding. Believe it or not, there are insurance covers for all these and a lot more than you imagined...
From hands to legs to palates and vocal cords, insurance protects them all. After all, we’ve all read stories of that supermodel who insured her legs and that lead guitarist who bought cover for his prized plectrum-pickers. But did you know that weddings can be insured too? And that sparkling spargel on your plate comes with a cover?
Here are some of the interesting items from our daily lives you might not have known are protected by insurance...
What do Crowdy Crawn (a percussion instrument from Cornwall in the United Kingdom) and a hurdy-gurdy (a hand-cranked wheel that rubs against strings) have in common? Other than the fact that they are fun to say out loud, that they are covered by Allianz.
Clarice Goff, Marketing Executive at Allianz Musical Insurance, says that the company covers more than 300,000 musical instruments in the United Kingdom. “Along with standard instruments such as drums, guitars, pianos, violins and trumpets, we cover many ‘exotic’ instruments, including a theorbo (large lute) and an ophicleide (similar to a tuba),” she says.
Instruments are covered for theft, loss or damage at home, rehearsals, gigs or concerts worldwide, as well as damage in transit. The cost of renting a replacement instrument is also covered.
Among the most expensive claims was for a viola stolen in 2000 and valued at over 30,000 pounds. The instrument turned up at an auction 15 years later, where Allianz recovered it and reunited it with its relieved owner.
Orchestras, bands and makers of musical instruments are typical clients of this type of insurance.
Allianz also insures the annual Air Guitar World Championship in Finland every August – but definitely not the instruments!
Alpacas are fast becoming a “thing” in Germany. There are a few thousand alpacas in the country, prized for the fine quality of their wool.
That’s not all. Thanks to their sunny disposition, they are also used as therapy animals in retirement homes and drug rehab centers. There is now an insurance for cameloids – camels, llamas and alpacas, explains Peter Buchhierl, CEO of Muenchener und Magdeburger Agrarversicherung, a subsidiary of Allianz. “That may sound exotic, but it is a fast growing market.”
Animals can be protected for financial loss in case of death, disease or accidents, as well as complications stemming from birth, the castration of males and theft. They can also be covered as part of shows and exhibitions.
Coverage for an alpaca could go up to 25,000 euros.
Neil Armstrong took a small step and a great leap for mankind. Today, space tourism is a reality, even if it is yet to become an everyday reality. So far, seven people have paid to go into space - the last in 2009. Unlike Armstrong and his crew, future space travelers may find it easier to get insurance.
Allianz Global Assistance has already created solutions – including cancelation insurance, baggage and accident insurance, and insurance for passengers against rising fuel prices. There are also plans to offer advice and medical services for potential space travelers and psychological support for family members left behind.
These complement the insurance offered by Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty (AGCS) Space Department. “The sector has developed from simple launch insurance to a complex discipline,” says Thierry Colliot, Head of Aviation France and General Manager of SpaceCo, a part of AGCS. “This includes contract analysis and advice, risk evaluation, alternative risk transfer concepts, insurance program design and implementation, and claims negotiation.”
Colliot says insurance is becoming increasingly important to turn technological advances into new commercial ventures. “Expensive cutting-edge projects, such as spacecraft, need insurance from their design phase up to their launch, while satellites in orbit and their installation on Earth need protection because of the size of the investments.”
It may be a while before space travel joins the list of holiday destinations for avid travelers. Hot-air balloons provide a heady trip too.
There are about 3,000 insured hot air balloons taking to the skies over the United States currently. Allianz covers about half of these – but that’s not all. Today, the company covers some of the smallest aircraft, such as gliders and drones, as well as the world’s biggest airlines, airports and manufacturers and the largest aircraft – Airlander 10.
A cross between an airplane, an airship, a helicopter and a hovercraft, the Airlander 10 is 92 meters long. Nicknamed the ‘Flying Bum’ because of its odd shape, it costs 25 million pounds and is designed to stay aloft for up to five days at heights of up to 4,880 meters.
Spring is incomplete in Germany without spargel – what the rest of the world calls ‘white asparagus’ but the Germans fondly call ‘white gold’. Served with butter sauce, potatoes and ham, spargel is to Germany what mango is to India, strawberry to Wimbledon and truffle to France.
Annually, the Germans consume over 125,000 tons of spargel. It doesn’t come cheap – a kilo can cost more than 10 euros. Little wonder then that spargel farmers keep a nervous eye on the sky throughout the year, dreading any dark clouds that could herald hail. While cold snaps in April may reduce the bounty, a few minutes of hail in summer can be devastating.
“White asparagus is unusual in regards to hail damage,” says Buchhierl of Muenchener und Magdeburger Agrarversicherung. “For most crops, the danger is when the harvest is ripening, but asparagus takes three years to grow and if the ferns are damaged, the effects will come out in the harvest in the years that follow.” Muenchener und Magdeburger Agrarversicherung insures almost all agricultural plants, also offering protection against drought and floods.
Tying the knot is an expensive affair. More so, if you’re in India. A wedding in the land of Bollywood could last 10 days, with extended families joining in from all over the world. Other than the groom riding on a white horse, Indian weddings are characterized by raucous parties and a staggering array of delicacies. The costs can be high, paid for by decades of savings. So if the wedding does not materialize, the financial losses could be significant.
Wedding insurance covers personal accident, cancellation or interruption of the event and losses due to damages to venue and equipment, says Sasikumar Adidamu of Bajaj Allianz General Insurance. Accidents involving blood relations within seven days of the wedding and damage to property are also covered. Such insurance can be extended to cover legal liabilities arising out of food poisoning at the party.
“As Indian weddings are becoming more opulent with destination wedding and personalized experiences for guests, we are witnessing a growing interest in insurance to cover them,” Adidamu says. What wedding insurance does not cover is “cold feet or second thoughts”. Wedding insurance is also offered in Germany. In the United Kingdom, Allianz offers a wedding cover for people planning on getting married abroad.
Theft is celebrated in the German state of Bavaria – as long the object stolen is over 30 meters long, weighs several tons and is painted blue and white. Every 3-5 years, villages in Bavaria set up a new maypole (called ‘Maibaum’ in German) and decorate it. Before the pole is hoisted, it is a sport for youth groups (Burschenverein) to try to steal it. If they succeed, they can demand a ‘ransom’ of beer and food. The champion of this unofficial sport is the Unterbrunner Buam, a boys club in a picturesque village at the foothills of the Alps. Since 1949, club members have stolen 62 maypoles.
Allianz provides insurance for marksmen clubs, volunteer fire brigades as well as sporting and social clubs associated with maypole events. Towns and cities are also covered as part of their communal insurance. This includes third-party accident and damage.
“More than 100 Schuetzenvereine (marksmen clubs) are covered, for example, by Allianz,” says Thomas Busch of Allianz Deutschland. “While not all of them will be erecting a maypole every year, they are covered should the maypole fall on a house, car or person during the festival.” If they have property insurance, it could cover damage to or loss of the maypole, adds Andreas Geiger of Allianz Deutschland. But damage payments are rare as the maypoles usually return to their owners in a good condition.
“The beer and pretzels provided as part of the ‘ransom’ are another matter,” Busch smiles. “We certainly don’t want to insure that as we’d be paying out all the time!”
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