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Vol. 6, Iss. 5
May 17, 2017


Encore: Randy Spencer’s Open Mic

Jewish Grandmother Insurance And Policies For Other Serious Gastronomic Risks



You’ve seen those stories about insurance policies covering celebrities’ one-of-a-kind traits. The one that seems to get mentioned most-often is a policy supposedly covering Liberace’s hands. A Google search reveals that insurance policies have also supposedly been taken out on Tom Jones’s chest hair and Michael Flatley’s legs. These seem like policies half-designed for a real purpose (akin to disability) and the other half just to generate media attention – which they seem to do.

A recent Reuters story reported that these days some insurers in China are also issuing policies covering unusual risks. But unlike policies that focus on celebrities’ unique qualities, China’s gimmicky policies cover risks confronted by average folks. According to the Reuters story, insurance is (or was) available for such things as your bride becoming pregnant before the honeymoon, your team being knocked out of the World Cup, burning your tongue eating hotpot (cooking raw meat and vegetables in a boiling pot of soup at the center of a table) and naughty child insurance to protect against your child throwing a tantrum and smashing something.

The article reported that the policies are motivated by stalled premium growth and seen as a way to engage with new customers. However, some of the policies do not sit well with Chinese insurance regulators, who see them as more akin to the Chinese love for gambling.

I got to thinking. If Chinese insurers can provide financial protection for burning your tongue eating hotpot, then imagine the opportunities that exist for U.S. insurers taking a similar tack with everyday gastronomic hazards:

• Your Nana pleads with you: “Eat, eat, you’re skin and bones.” You then get sick after your fifth bagel with lox.

• The pop-up thing in the turkey malfunctions and your Thanksgiving bird is as dry as a Steven Wright bit.

• You buy chicken stir fry at the Whole Foods prepared foods counter but don’t notice the sign that it’s tofu faux-chicken.

• A little too much wasabi sticks to a California roll and you stop breathing.

• You eat too much of your 8 year-old daughter’s Halloween candy and she sues you for conversion (or worse, tells mommy).

• A Slurpee brain-freeze causes the loss of 10 IQ points.

• You make a big losing investment in the stock market because a fortune cookie said that you’ll soon have great wealth.

• You die from eating Pop Rocks.

• You are attacked by PETA protestors after eating animal crackers.


That’s my time. I’m Randy Spencer. Contact Randy Spencer at

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