The British carrier underwriting the majority of the risk for the pop star’s planned comeback concerts insisted on follow-up tests by a London physician.
By Harriet Ryan|August 07, 2009
Michael Jackson was scheduled to undergo a second physical by an insurance company doctor at the time of his death, according to the terms of the policy purchased by the promoter of his planned comeback concerts in London.
A New York doctor gave Jackson a battery of medical tests in February so promoter AEG Live could get insurance for a portion of the performances, but the British carrier underwriting the majority of the risk, Lloyd’s, insisted on a follow-up physical by a London physician closer to the July 13 kickoff show.
Under the terms in place when Jackson died, the $17.5-million policy covered only “losses” — cancellations or non-appearances by the pop icon “resulting from accident.” That coverage could have been expanded to include shows scuttled by a death from natural causes or by illness, but only after insurance officials had reviewed the results of the second medical examination and watched a run-through of the show at the O2 Arena.
Jackson, 50, died June 25, the week before he was to travel to London.
On Thursday, AEG Live provided a copy of the policy to Jackson’s mother, Katherine, in what the company said was an effort to quell misinformation about its terms. The entertainer’s father, Joe Jackson, suggested in an interview Sunday with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera that there was something suspicious about the AEG policy.
According to a copy obtained by The Times, the policy specifically prohibited a payout if cancellations were related to illegal drug use.
“This insurance does not cover any loss directly or indirectly arising out of, contributed to, by or resulting from . . . the illegal possession or illicit taking of drugs and their effects,” the policy read.
Jackson, who had struggled with prescription drug addiction, was taking medication at the time of his death, and authorities are investigating the role drugs played in it and mulling charges against his personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray. The L.A. County coroner’s office has not yet released the results of a toxicology screen. AEG has said that the company is awaiting an official determination of death before trying to collect on the policy.
L.A.-based AEG has said getting insurance coverage for the troubled singer’s comeback effort was difficult. The Lloyd’s policy covered the income expected to be generated during the first 13 of the 50 planned concerts. The promoter’s chief executive, Randy Phillips, has said the company spent up to $30 million mounting the elaborate show but expects to recoup the investment by collecting the insurance policy and embarking on various deals with the Jackson estate, including a documentary film.
Much of the policy appears standard, but aspects testify to Jackson’s global fame. In an effort to guard his privacy, Jackson was referred to throughout the policy by a pseudonym, Mark Jones. The policy also indicates the high stakes in keeping Jackson healthy. With a common cold carrying a potential cost in the millions, the policy barred Jackson from holding “meet-and-greets” with fans.
The policy, finalized in April, also covered Jackson’s then-manager, Dr. Tohme Tohme.
“I think they put me on the insurance because we were traveling together and we were going to be together,” the businessman said.