It’s not unusual…not for Lloyd’s

How many elephants can you fit in a jumbo jet? Would you believe ten! That was the very important passenger count in a shipment of (live)stock insured in 2004 by Lloyd’s of London.

Lloyd’s made its name by specialising in insuring the unusual, weird and wonderful so it came as no surprise to be asked to cover the 36 hour transatlantic flight of ten elephants. “A mammoth task”, said Robert Wells, livestock underwriter at Lloyd’s XL syndicate. Thanks to sound risk management and thorough planning, the flight, memorable to at least 10 on board, went without a hitch with cargo delivered safely.

Elephants in transit are just one of many unusual insurance risks taken on by Lloyd’s. A two-headed albino rattlesnake was another. Although only covered against restricted perils because an earlier insured snake had died, this one ended badly too when, in an apparent disagreement between the respective heads, fatal consequences occurred when one head bit the other.

And, perhaps verging on the disgusting, a Lloyd’s insured, frozen sculpture melted after builders accidentally disconnected the freezer it was stored in. The work was a life-sized cast of the artists head made from 9 pints of the artists blood. The claim submitted was for approximately one million pounds.

The cleaning bill was not recorded. An insurance icon since 1688, you can bet there are many more stories of quirky covers in the annals of Lloyd’s of London. We’ll dig into the archives to bring you more snippets in future editions of Brokerwise.