Expensive Tastes: U.K. Wine Buyer Gets Tongue Insured for $17 Million

Angela Mount buys wines for Somerfield supermarket chain's 600 stores across the United Kingdom.
Dec 13, 2003

Angela Mount may go down in history as the woman with the golden tongue. Britain's Somerfield supermarket chain, for which she purchases wines, has insured her tongue for 10 million pounds (about $17.3 million) because the company considers it such a valuable asset.

"You hear about models insuring their legs, and so it is strange to think that part of my body is insured," Mount said. "However, my taste buds are vital to my job because I sample thousands of different wines a year for both quality control purposes and to find new wines to sell at Somerfield."

Mount purchases the 380 labels offered by Somerfield, which has about 600 stores across the United Kingdom. According to the chain, Mount's specialty is finding unique, quality wines that retail for less than five pounds ($8.66) a bottle. Ten percent of Somerfield's turnover comes from wine sales.

"In the decade since she joined Somerfield, Angela has built a range of wines that compete convincingly with our competitors and high street wine merchants," said the company in a statement. "The particular strength of Somerfield wine is the own-label range." It accounts for about 150 of the 380 wines Somerfield sells and has been entirely created by Mount.

The Chicago-based Aon Corp., which specializes in risk management, will be responsible for the hefty payout in the event that Mount's taste buds are unable to perform.

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