Lloyd’s puts $1m price on Polamalu’s head
Wed 01 Sep 2010
Lloyd’s has taken a weight off the mind of American football star Troy Polamalu – if not his head – by insuring his eye-catching thatch of hair for $1 million.
Shampoo maker Head & Shoulders insured the Pittsburgh Steelers’ player’s trademark black tresses, which haven’t been cut in seven years. They are now so long that if they were laid end to end they would span 100 football fields. His luxuriant locks, which tumble out of his football helmet and down his back, have made Polamalu one of the most recognisable American sportsmen. He has a website devoted to his distinctive black tresses, www.troyshair.com, which features tonsure-related games, and even an iPhone app that is dedicated to his hairdo.
“I’m used to dealing with some pretty hair-raising risks, but this is the first time I’ve ever been asked to insure anyone’s locks,” Jonathan Thomas, Group Accident and Health Underwriter, at the Watkins Syndicate tells lloyds.com.
“But we’re used to providing unique policies for unusual risks here at Lloyd’s. This is the place where people from all around the world come to get insurance for parts of their body that they rely on for making their livings. Everyone from models to musicians and professional sportsmen get coverage here,” says Watkins, who insured winemaker Ilja Gort’s nose for €5 million and a mystery celebrity’s chest hair among many others.
Polamalu’s position on the field is safety, the last line of defence – a role Lloyd’s knows well as the world’s leading specialist insurance market with over 300 years’ experience of creating bespoke policies to cover risks ranging from the smile of the star of hit US TV show Ugly Betty, to the fingers of legendary Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards and the legs of iconic star Marlene Dietrich.
A trichologist examined Polamalu’s hair before the policy was underwritten, to make sure it’s in as good a shape as the athlete himself. The policy will pay out if he loses more than 60% of his hair in an accident. That includes incidents on the field of play – a real risk considering the player’s mane has been targeted in the past. Kansas City Chiefs’ player Larry Johnson grabbed Polamalu’s hair in a last-ditch effort to prevent him scoring a touchdown after intercepting a pass in a 2006 game – an eye-watering tackle watched by more than 1.5 million people on YouTube.
But there are a number of conditions to the policy: Polamalu can’t take up firebreathing as a hobby or decide to climb Mount Everest. He also needs to steer clear of candles during romantic suppers with his wife Theodora and in nightclubs avoid fans of rival teams with grudges – and Zippo lighters.