Insurers Ponder Coverage Of Olympic Gold Medals

Atheletes returning from Beijing with medals might want to ensure their Olympic keepsakes. Worldwide, 302 athletes won medals in Beijing, 18 of those bringing one home to Canada.

But as Lloyds points out on its Web site, the prospect of selling coverage for Olympic hardware poses some interesting questions for insurers. A gold medal from the Beijing Olympics is not solid gold, but just 6 per cent gold, Lloyds notes. Yet each medal has tremendous sentimental value.

Richard Tolle, vice president for the Global Sport, Entertainment & Events practice at Lloyd’s broker Marsh, says: “An athlete could insure their gold medal as you would any other valuable household item that requires all risks cover. The big issue is agreeing the value of the medal with the insurance company and establishing whether a replacement is actually possible.

“The medal will have an actual metal market value based around size, weight and purity but that is likely to be much lower than an athlete’s perceived value of the medal or even the eBay price,” he says. “If the International Olympic Committee will replace the medal, they may be able to indicate a cost to do this. Either way the key is agreeing with the insurance company the insured value of the medal.”

Adds Daniel Smith, director of Aon’s Fine Art and Specie division, “The discussion will be about just how you value the medal, because in cold terms it is the value of the metal which it contains, but it means so much more and would be viewed by the majority of people as far more valuable.”

Smith says, however, that the chances of theft are low: “Given the limited nature of the medals if one was to be stolen the thief would find it hard to sell it because any buyer would question who the original winner was and the publicity surrounding the theft of a medal would make them almost impossible to pass on.”

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