I was reading through the December 2022 issue of Reason magazine and the topic of “space insurance” came up. The article stated that it’s currently limited and is primarily in use by the new private space companies, especially if they send people to space or up to the Karmen Line. I thought I would look around to see what is available, what requirements and limits there are, and possibly what it costs.
List of Space Insurers
AXA XL - Specialty: Space Insurance. AXA XL, per the website, says they “offer a unique and comprehensive suite of space insurance products including pre-launch, launch, in-orbit, and liability coverage for spacecraft and launch vehicles.” The website has a fairly detailed listing of what they cover, which seems primarily for companies that launch satellites and test various spacecraft or new space tech. There isn't any mention of covering travelers to/from space. This specialty insurance can be partnered with a handful of very popular commercial insurers. https://axaxl.com/insurance/products/space-insurance
Munich RE - Specialty: Space and Satellite insurance. Munich RE, per the website, states “Tailor-made prelaunch, launch and in-orbit insurance covers for commercial satellites.” Munich RE has four categories for this space insurance: prelaunch, launch, in-orbit, and launch plus life insurance. https://www.munichre.com/en/solutions/for-industry-clients/space-and-satellite-insurance-solutions.html
Gallagher - Specialty: Space and Satellite Insurance. Gallagher has four categories for this space insurance: prelaunch, launch, in-orbit, and launch plus life insurance. https://www.ajg.com/uk/aerospace-aviation/space-satellite-insurance/
Lloyd’s of London - Specialty: Space. Lloyd’s offers comparative insurance to the other companies listed. https://www.lloyds.com/conducting-business/regulatory-tools/risk-location-guidance/class-of-business/space
Global Aerospace - Space and Satellite Insurance. Global Aerospace covers Hull (launch and in-orbit) and Liability (launch and in-orbit) with its insurance. https://www.global-aero.com/space-satellite-insurance/
Aon - Specialty: International Space Brokers (ISB). Aon uses ISB to insure the space industry. https://www.global-aero.com/space-satellite-insurance/
Canopius - Specialty: Space Insurance. Canopius focuses on launch, in-orbit testing, and in-orbit operations. https://www.canopius.com/insurance/space-insurance/
HDI Global - Industry: Aviation & Space. HDI Global offers insurance that appears to cover passengers/crew (Passenger Legal Liability, Personal Accident for passengers and crew), prelaunch, launch, in-orbit, and third-party. https://www.hdi.global/insurance/multirisk/aviation-space/
Upon a quick google search for “Space Insurance” led to a number of various insurers. Most seem to include insurance for prelaunch, launch, and in-orbit coverage. Few seem to offer coverage on passengers/crew. Perhaps that is yet to be fully realized since seat tickets to go on a launch are roughly the cost of a small house, which means it’s not yet affordable but it's more affordable than it was 20 years ago.
Costs are not available unless you call for a consultation with an insurance company, which I really don't want to do right at the moment. It wouldn't be too far fetched to guesstimate that space insurance is going to run at least $10,000+ a year (probably more), depending on what you're doing. This guesstimate is based on other insurance numbers. I'm guessing - higher risk, higher price with $10K being on the low end of things.
Why Is This Important?
As the people of Earth start venturing further into space, the insurance companies are going to be right there with us - from a business perspective. The Orbital Assembly Corporation is planning on building a research station (Pioneer Station) and a space hotel (Voyager Station) in the next couple of years. If they succeed that means Earthlings will start having a potential off-world place to visit. Where people go, accidents happen; insurance is needed to cover people and accidents.
This leads me to ask other questions like: what about the potential of construction in space? What type of insurance would be needed for that? How would we even go about doing that? Can you weld in a vacuum (probably)? Wouldn't it be easier to launch a spaceship from a moon-based point rather than having to break out of Earth's gravitational hold and atmosphere? Why don't we (Earth) have a moonbase?
Questions To The Readers
Do you think the limiting availability of space insurance covering passengers/crew restricts development of space travel? Do you think it will expand alongside the industry or remain a little tight?
The Space Insurance Landscape by Rachel Zisk, Payload, 10/31/2022 https://payloadspace.com/the-space-insurance-landscape/
Launching Into Space? Not So Fast. Insurers Balk At New Coverage by Noor Zainab Hussain, Reuters, 9/1/2021 https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/science/launching-into-space-not-so-fast-insurers-balk-new-coverage-2021-09-01/
As Satellites Launch More Frequently, Can Space Insurers Keep Up? by Rachel Zisk, Fast Company, 11/7/2022. https://www.fastcompany.com/90805667/as-satellites-launch-more-frequently-can-space-insurers-keep-up
Splash and Crash: Satellite Liability and Insurance by Benjamin L.S. Ritz, Thompson Coe, 1/20/2022 https://www.thompsoncoe.com/resources/publications/splash-and-crash-satellite-liability-and-insurance/