21st December 2006
It’s a White Christmas!
Even the most famous delivery man in the world needs insurance – so when Father Christmas wanted to insure his long white beard there was only one place to go – the world’s leading, specialist insurance market.
Brady White is an actor turned professional Santa who visits the likes of Pamela Anderson and Rene Russo and is the face of Father Christmas for Macy’s department store in New York.
Known as “Santa to the Stars”, he has had his whiskers protected by Lloyd’s for a decade.
“There is no doubt that there could only be one place where Father Christmas could have his beard insured and that was Lloyd’s. All sorts of things can happen to Santa’s beard and I wanted to know that it was protected. Children can be a little rough so it gets tugged and pulled a lot, and then there is the soot and the danger of being singed when I head down the chimneys.”
White currently lives on Rhode Island in the United States, but it was as an out of work actor in Los Angeles that he got his big break as Father Christmas.
“I was unemployed, living in Hollywood and nine months behind on my rent,” White says. “I took a job as Santa at the Beverly Hills Mall. An LA newspaper searched for the best Santa in all of Southern California and the kids chose me. They said I was unlike any Santa they had ever met.”
White was then told by an agent that Santas with real beards were earning far more than those who had to put fake fur on their face, so he stopped shaving and started to market himself as a professional Santa.
His client list for corporate work now reads like a who’s who of the major brands, and his Christmas Day visits include the homes of Hollywood stars like Pamela Anderson, Rene Russo, Kirstie Alley and Zsa Zsa Gabor.
White says his secret to winning over children across the world is to ensure that he talks to them about the things they are interested in, from popular music to fashion.
Another key attribute is to stay calm, ensuring that he is never anything but kind to the children: “I’ve never lost my cool as Santa,” he says. “Dealing with kids, it sounds corny, but it is truly magic.”
Lloyd’s underwriter Jonathan Thomas, although not the man behind this risk, was once approached with a similar issue, he says: “Brady White’s needs are not dissimilar to the entertainer whose chest hair I offered to cover a few years ago.”
“A natural growth white beard is a valuable business asset to a highly specialised performer like Brady and thus it is exactly the sort of service industry asset protection that Lloyd’s specialises in.