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Insuring an Image: What if Woods Can't Deliver the Goods?

A good definition of an insurer is one who profits from the misfortune of others. That's been true since the days when ships lost their cargo to pirates in the 1600s. And it's just as true today when corporations lose millions because celebrity endorsers are caught in the act. But remember: An insurer is always there to share your pain - for a price.

The Washington Post reports that a New York brokerage firm is developing a new type of insurance policy to "protect companies against endorsers gone wild," a la Tiger Woods.
DeWitt Stern Group says it will begin selling "reputational risk" insurance next year to pay policyholders for the loss of sales, ad expenses and endorser fees caused by a public relations crisis, such as Woods' "philandering."

Unfortunately too little too late for Nike, Gillette and Gatorade, as well as Accenture, which used Le Tigre in their ad campaigns. Consulting firm Accenture has already unleashed the Tiger, while the others don't appear to be using his ads.

DeWitt Stern's managing director LeComte Moore says his product was in development before the Woods scandal, but now thinks he may have "a Tiger by the tail." He told the paper, "We expect a lot of interest in this."

Given the misadventures of athletes and, to be fair, politicians, it's surprising that a major insurance company hasn't come up with a similar product. American International Group might want to insure its own reputation, unless you take into consideration that the federal government already did that with its $182 billion in financial aid.

Tiger's extramarital affairs and the news that his wife Elin is seeking a permanent split, has also sparked interest in another kind of insurance: divorce insurance. The argument against divorce insurance is that if you offer it to everyone, everyone would get a divorce. Makes you wonder if either of these insurance products can save the Tiger.

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