Angela Mount, the senior wine buyer for UK supermarket chain Somerfield, has recently had her taste buds insured for a record £10m.
Mount is responsible for 10% of the supermarket’s annual turnover. She increased the chain’s wine sales by 15% last year and more than half of Somerfield’s range of 380 wines won medals at this year’s International Wine Challenge.
‘My taste buds are vital to my job,’ she said. The insurance also covers the nose – the olfactory process plays a vital role in tasting and appreciating a wine.
The decision to insure her taste was taken by Somerfield. ‘Obviously Somerfield is looking to protect its assets. Ms Mount was party to the decision – she was quite flattered,’ said spokesman Pete Williams.
The policy requires Mount to take all steps to avoid endangering her taste buds. Although not a smoker, cigarettes and other such forms of recreation are ruled out.
‘She has to take all steps to avoid putting her throat at risk,’ said Willliams.
Mount was unavailable for comment as she has recently contracted laryngitis.
Cases of entertainers and other celebrities insuring their body parts go back many years. In the 1920s silent movie star Ben Turpin, famed for his crossed eyes, took out a US$20,000 policy against them uncrossing. Marlene Dietrich insured her voice for US$1m, and Betty Grable insured her legs for the same amount, coining the phrase ‘million-dollar legs’. Fred Astaire, in comparison, had his legs insured for US$75,000 each.
More recently, Liberace, French pianist Richard Clayderman and Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards all insured their hands.
Reports that American pop diva J-Lo – Jennifer Lopez – insured her famous bottom for US$1bn have been denied by the singer. If her denial is true, Angela Mount’s policy is a world record amount for the insurance of a body part.
Written by Oliver Styles