The $8 Million Nose



The Nose. Patrick Suskind’s antihero Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was willing to kill for his. Ilja Gord, a Dutch winemaker believes his is worth 5 million euros ($8.0 million).

The 47-year-old Dutchman’ nose joined a celebrated club, which includes the legs of David Beckham and Heidi Klum and the smile of Ugly Betty star America Ferrara in body parts considered so precious that they have had to be insured.

Gort, a musician turned winemaker and taster who owns a château in Bordeaux, decided to take out the policy after hearing about a man who lost his sense of smell in a car accident.

“I thought it must be a horror to lose your smell,” he told the Associated Press. “It would mean that you cannot taste wine anymore.”

Gort isn’t the first to insure just his nose. American performer Jimmy Durante insured his, largely because his image, and the success of advertising campaigns that he was part of, depended on it.

Gort is, however, one of the few, along with some top perfumers, who have chosen to insure their nose for its functionality rather than its image, said Jonathan Thomas, accident and health underwriter at the Watkins Syndicate, which co-insured Gort’s policy along with Allianz.

In order to ever claim on his insurance Gort must be able to show that his sense of smell–which was measured at the start of the policy–has diminished.

The route of insuring just one body part has been chosen by many a celebrity, though not as urban legend would have it Jennifer Lopez. This can be as much to do with publicity as anything else. “Celebrities have an interest in certain body parts that are key to their earnings potential but they can flex that interest for promotional purposes,” Thomas told

It’s more common to insure a whole person or several different parts, said Thomas. Even pianists tend to go for a wider package, which includes vision and hearing, as well as hands. However, Gord was confident that it was just his nose that warranted protection.

“Gord is convinced that the tongue is a fairly crude instrument of fine wine,” explained Thomas.

In addition to hefty premiums charged for a tailor-made policy, taking out specialist insurance comes at a price. The terms of Gord’s policy require him to steer clear of “incompetent barbers”, “fire-breathing” and–more mundanely–riding a motor cycle.


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