Dinosaur poop, drones and butlers
ORLANDO, Florida – At over 26 inches long and over 20 pounds, Barnum is the world record holder for the largest pieces of dung ever recorded by a carnivore, laid by a Tyrannosaurus rex 70 million ago years.
Named after the paleontologist who discovered T. rex, Barnum Brown, the piece of coprolite – as fossilized poo is called – is on display at the Orlando Science Center along with more specimens from the Poozeum, the world’s largest collection of coprolite. , owned by George Frandsen of Jacksonville, Florida.
To share with museums, Frandsen, 42, had to insure the pieces in his collection. He says when he started asking insurance companies to give him a policy on Barnum, “they laughed.”
This is not surprising for Roger Maharaj, senior underwriter for Burns & Wilcox in Tampa. “There are probably only a handful of companies in the United States that would go after this,” he said.
Maharaj works in what are called Florida Surplus Insurance Lines. Most of the things that are insured fall under what is known as the admitted market, which means that policies must comply with state regulations and are backed by state law.
In excess lines, the rules can be a little more relaxed. Not all state regulations should apply to excess policies. If it sounds riskier it is, but it allows companies to cover potential losses that other companies do not want to take.
The surplus lines don’t just cover the bizarre world of the old doo doo.
They cover everything from motorized surfboards and amphibious cars to kidnapping ransoms. Metro Orlando alone has over $ 6,000 in pickup bonuses.
Sometimes it’s for common but neglected things that we see every day, like solar panels.
“A lot of companies don’t want to insure them because they can be damaged by storms or fly off rooftops,” Maharaj said.
Another type of policy that can be found in excess lines is price compensation, also known as hole-in-one policy. These contest prizes cover incredible feats, like the time a Central Florida fisherman caught a 101-pound bass and won $ 100,000.
“Typically, these policies don’t cost a lot of money,” Maharaj said. “So the only way a business can get away with this is if the possibility of someone doing it is so low that… you can’t worry about having to pay the claim. “
It is similar to calculating odds on casino games.
Maharaj says that a recent thing he has written policies for are drones.
“They can create a problem if it exceeds a certain limit and it interferes with air aviation,” he said. “Drone filming is interesting because it presents a lot of issues regarding privacy and things. “
Professional liabilities also tend to fall into the surplus lines. You can even have your butler insured, but this is not to replace him.
“If they only work for one person, the person [who hired them] should get the policy, ”Maharaj said. “Because if they did anything on my behalf, I would be protected in case they made a mistake. “
But what kind of damage can even happen to an age-old piece of poo?
“They are extremely fragile,” Frandsen said. “Fire, flood, theft. It’s a fun item, but it’s also a rare item, so people want it.
Storage conditions and how it will be transported should all be considered.
And then, of course, there is a determination of value. “We’ll have to check with museums, if not other countries, what the going rate is for something like this,” Maharaj said.
Frandsen says the factors that influence the value are size and appearance. “When you put it on your desk or your coat, does it look like poo?” ” he said. “It really helps the price.”
Barnum eventually got a $ 15,000 policy, for which he pays a premium of around $ 300 a year.
Frandsen continues to expand the collection of coprolite he has been building since the age of 18.
“The bones are neat but they don’t tell a story like turd is,” he said.
Jeff Stanford at a coprolite (fossilized dinosaur droppings) exhibit at the Orlando Science Center on October 12, 2021. The center is currently displaying more than a dozen specimens of poop, including the Guinness World Record holder for the largest droppings. fossil of a never-found carnivore. Just an example of unusual items that have insurance policies to protect them.