The world’s most valuable life insurance policy has been taken out by an individual customer of HSBC Life in Hong Kong.

Worth $250 mn, the whole-of-life protection policy will pay out the record-breaking sum to the anonymous person’s named beneficiary after their death.

The plan is designed to preserve the individual’s wealth for future generations of their family.

The previous record was a $201-mn policy facilitated by the advisory firm SG (USA) in 2014, according to Guinness World Records.

SG won’t disclose the buyer’s name. The company said the single policyholder is a well-known billionaire living in Silicon Valley who is involved in the tech industry, and $201 million would be paid out upon the buyer’s death.

Dovi Frances, SG’s president and founder, said no single insurance company holds the $201 mn risk. He said the policy is split between 19 different companies and none hold “more than $20 mn or so” of risk.

Few people in financial services have had a career as interesting or varied as life insurance salesman Peter Rosengard. One of the highlights of his career was selling the highest life insurance policy amount at the time (see Why Millennials Buying Life Insurance?).

He sold the world’s largest life insurance policy, a $100 mn policy for David Geffen, the boss of Geffen Records.

Edward Moncreiffe, CEO of HSBC Life Hong Kong

Asia is home to the fastest growing ultra-high-net-worth population in the world, and as such we are seeing a substantial increase in demand for insurance solutions to address business succession, estate management and legacy planning needs

Edward Moncreiffe, CEO of HSBC Life Hong Kong

“The issuance of these high-value life insurance policies reaffirms Hong Kong’s position as both a preferred destination for wealth management and a leading international insurance hub”, Edward Moncreiffe said.

Highest insured dentures

A set of false teeth that belonged to the first president of the United States, George Washington, are insured for $10 mn. 

They are currently on display at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s estate in Virginia, USA, after being bought by the estate’s owners for $5,500 in 1949.

The dentures are made of elephant ivory, cow teeth and slaves’ teeth, which all sit in a lead base kept in place by two coiled springs. 

Washington’s teeth began to fall out before he was 30, and by the time of his first presidential inauguration in 1789, when he was 57, he had only one natural tooth remaining. He had at least four sets of dentures made throughout his life.

Highest insured face value

Highest insured face value

Jeff Rose, an insurance agent, wrote the largest policy with a $212 mn face value and a $6,1 mn premium.

The wealthy policyholder wanted the policy to serve him dual purpose: first, $175 mn for estate planning and estate taxes and second, to leave large endowments to his favourite institutions.

Highest insured hair

In 2010, the trademark locks of American footballer Troy Polamalu were insured with Lloyd’s of London for $1 mn by shampoo brand Head & Shoulders, which Polamalu was a spokesman for.

The highest insured hair is that of professional American footballer Troy Polamalu (USA) of the National Football League’s Pittsburgh Steelers (USA), whose trademark locks were insured for $1 mn with Lloyd’s of London by Procter and Gamble shampoo brand Head & Shoulders on 30 August 2010.

Polamalu has not cut his hair since 2000 as a tribute to his Samoan ancestors. He had served as a Head & Shoulders spokesman for two years at the time the insurance policy was taken out (see about Life Insurance Value Chain).

Polamalu’s insured hair was nearly three feet long at the time of insurance. It joins other famous insured body parts such as Keith Richards’ hands ($2 mn), David Beckham’s legs ($70 million), and even Tom Jones’ chest hair ($7 mn).

Highest insured tongue

Lloyd’s reported in 2009 that the tongue of Gennaro Pelliccia, who tastes every single batch of coffee beans made for Costa Coffee’s UK stores, had been insured for $14 mn.

In my profession, my taste buds are crucial. My 18 years of experience enable me to distinguish between thousands of flavours.

What is the world's most valuable life insurance policy?

Highest insured nose

As reported by Lloyd’s in 2008, Ilja Gort had his nose insured for $7.8 mn. Gort – the owner of the vineyard Chateau de La Garde in Bordeaux, France, and producer of Tulipe Wines – insured his nose to protect his livelihood.

While these amounts make us gasp, they also bring out the personality of life insurance. The benefits of life insurance aren’t unknown to the wealthiest of people.

It is about finding that sweet spot – the perfect balance whereby the policyholder can leave sufficient funds for the family, loved ones and dependents so that they can maintain their lifestyle and have a financial cushion in times of crisis, at least until they can get on their own financial feet.

We may refrain from talking about death all we like, but it can strike anytime – it is an uncertainty even the richest aren’t immune to.

So why would someone buy such a big insurance policy? Mainly for trust and estate planning reasons. By wrapping or pairing insurance products with trusts, insurance products can become an efficient way to protect assets from estate and other taxes. These tax-efficient insurance products have become increasingly popular with the wealthy as they seek to minimize their tax bills.


by Sanj Atwal – Guinness World Records

You May Also Like