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Out of the ordinary: a growing number of policyholders are turning to unique insurance covers.

Most individuals carry an array of insurance policies, such as homeowners, auto, life and medical, but a growing number of policyholders are turning to some unique coverages that protect against more unusual exposures.

About 200 policyholders in the Land Down Under look to insurance to protect against being killed by a crocodile. Territory Insurance Office, a fully government-owned and guaranteed provider of insurance and banking services in Australia's Northern Territory, has been offering crocodile attack insurance for the past decade. The policy, which was launched alongside its existing suite of traditional insurance products, offers protection but was primarily intended to elevate TIO's market presence as the Northern Territory's only locally owned and operated insurer, said Les Holden, general manager of insurance.

Policies costing a little more than $7.50 ($10 in Australian dollars), including government charges, provide cover for a six-month period against death resulting from a crocodile attack that occurs in the Northern Territory. In the event of a claim, a $50,000 benefit is payable if death occurs within 30 days of an attack. The policy is available to Northern Territory residents and visitors. It excludes death that's directly or indirectly attributable to or consequential upon intentional self injury, suicide or entering into a dare or wager.

No claims have been filed since the policy's inception in 1986, the company said. But a growing number of crocodiles continue to inhabit the area. The company said about 75,000 saltwater crocodiles, the largest crocodiles in Australia, currently are reported in the Northern Territory. According to the Crocodilian Biology Database, 11 people have been killed by saltwater crocodiles in northern Australia since 1982.

Another policy that protects against a different type of bite--a powerful financial bite--is wedding insurance. With more than 2 million weddings in the United States each year, and the average cost of an event now reaching about $22,500, protection against something going wrong or an event being canceled or postponed is gaining in popularity.

Los Angeles-based R.V. Nuccio and Associates Insurance Brokers Inc. offers that protection. The policy--called "Weddingsurance"--allows policyholders to create a package from nine optional coverages, including cancellation, additional expenses, special attire, photographs and video, jewelry, rented property, gifts, liability and medical payments. The policy, which is underwritten by Fireman's Fund, can be tailored to meet the financial needs of an event. The minimum one-time premium is $195. A base policy starts at $3,000 in cancellation insurance, and policyholders can select what coverages they would like to add, said President and CEO Robert V. Nuccio. Coverage can begin up to two years prior to the event, and coverage for all nonrefundable expenses paid out and incurred protects against nearly everything except a change of heart.

Hurricanes Katrina and Rita that recently devastated the Gull" Coast are causing a powerful punch to the company's wedding claims, said Nuccio. Claims include everything from canceled events to damaged facilities that may not be repaired for several months. Weather-related cancellations are a growing source of claims, including the recent wildfires outside Los Angeles and major snowstorms that generally blanket such cities as Buffalo, N.Y., Chicago and Denver each year.

Since R.V. Nuccio and Associates began offering wedding insurance in 1993, it's seen what Nuccio says is "just about every type of claim"--everything from the ordinary, such as caterers going out of business and reception halls burning down, to the not-so-ordinary, such as a bride-to-be's 3-yearold brother who finger-painted her gown prior to the wedding or a cat who gave birth to a litter of kittens on top of a wedding gown. Policies also cover such unfortunate events as stolen wedding gifts, power outages, injured guests, illness such as a bride getting appendicitis five days before the wedding, and event cancellation due to the untimely death of a family member. The policy will even cover expenses to restage a wedding in the event that negatives fail to develop, including travel expenses for the wedding party and rental costs for the facility and attire.
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Title Annotation:insurance policies
Comment:Out of the ordinary: a growing number of policyholders are turning to unique insurance covers.(insurance policies)
Author:Chordas, Lori
Publication:Best's Review
Geographic Code:8AUST
Date:Nov 1, 2005
Words:670
Previous Article:WellPoint to expand, purchases WellChoice.
Next Article:Regulatory mix and match.
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