Sense of smell insured for 8 million dollars

March 19, 2008 5:10:29 AM PDT
His schnoz is not to be sniffed at.

A Lloyd's of London syndicate said Tuesday it is insuring the nose of winemaker Ilja Gort for $8 million.

The Dutch winemaker and taster took out the policy after hearing about a man who lost his sense of smell in a car accident.

"I thought it must be a horror to lose your smell," Gort said. "It would mean that you cannot taste wine anymore. Tasting wine is something you do with your nose, not your mouth."

Gort, 47, said his nose is essential for him to produce top quality wines at his Chateau de la Garde vineyard in the Bordeaux region of France.

The custom policy covers Gort for the loss of either his nose or his sense of smell and has some conditions for protecting his nose. Among other things, he is barred from riding a motorcycle or working as a knife thrower's assistant or fire-breather.

And he can't be a boxer. "I may not fight against Mike Tyson," Gort said.

Jonathan Thomas, the lead underwriter for the Watkins Syndicate at the Lloyd's insurance market, also took note of Gort's long, curly beard in drafting the policy. A clause requires that the winemaker use only experienced barbers who will keep their razors steady near his nose.

"These insurance policies, they're not all dry," Thomas said. "There's a bit of fun we can add with them as well."

This is one of many Lloyd's body part insurance policies. Lloyd's reported movie icon Marlene Dietrich had her legs insured and Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards was paid when he injured his finger on tour in the 1990s.

America Ferrara, star of the ABC television show "Ugly Betty," has her smile insured for $10 million, Lloyd's said.

"Let's face it, it's a Lloyd's speciality," Thomas said. "Lloyd's specializes in unusual risks."

Gort wasn't the first wine tester to get coverage from Thomas. He insured the senses of both taste and smell for wine taster Angela Mount for $20.1 million in 2003 for her bosses at British supermarket chain Somerfield.