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Space Tourism Gets Insurance Boost with Aon, Space Expedition Corp. Partnership

Source: A.M. Best

Posted on 13 Dec 2012 by Neilson

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Aon Space insuranceAon Risk Solutions has partnered with Space Expedition Corp. to create an insurance policy for space tourists.

The policy provides coverage for losses related to flight cancellation, postponement or temporary interruption, according to a statement from Aon Risk Solutions, the global risk management business of Aon plc. It is based upon a regular nonappearance cancellation policy and also includes additional supplemental coverage.

Space Expedition is a Netherlands-based space tourism company that aims to make space travel available for private citizens. It will begin to operate daily commercial flights to space in 2014 for private citizens who complete the mandatory training program and pass medical testing. The flights will be performed in the Lynx suborbital spaceplane that is designed and built by Xcor Aerospace, a company that utilizes reusable launch vehicles, rocket engines and rocket propulsion systems, according to a statement.

The Lynx is a two-seat fully reusable spaceplane that takes off and lands as a normal airplane from regular airports. The Curacao airport in the Caribbean will most likely be the first location - and first purely commercial spaceport - outside the United States. The spaceflights cost $95,000 each and more than 200 flights have been sold to date, according to a statement.

Attempts to get further comment from Aon was not immediately successful.

Earlier this year, Aon Risk Solutions was involved in placing coverage on SpaceX's cargo-ferrying mission to the International Space Station. There are only about 30 or so insurers in the world that write space insurance, Jeff Poliseno, chief executive officer of Aon Risk Solutions' international space brokers practice, said at the time. He said those 30 insurers have capacity to write maximum capacity, "which you very rarely will see, on any one risk to the tune of about $650 million."

The biggest insurable risk for the SpaceX mission was third-party liability protection for any property damage or bodily injury that might have occurred as a result of launch operations on the ground, in space or in re-entry.

Commercial space insurance has been a robust industry for the past few years, Poliseno said in June, adding those insurers have been booking record profits. Recently, however, orders for commercial satellites have been tapering off as the industry comes off a strong cycle of growth.

Aon officials have previously said that in 2010 space insurers took in earned premiums of $884 million and paid out claims of $374 million. In the same year, the satellite industry generated about $800 million in global premium from an estimated $20 billion worth of insured assets in geostationary orbit, according to Torus.

Aon plc is the second-largest global broker, according to Best's Review's 2012 Top Global Insurance Brokers ranking based on 2011 total revenue. Aon had revenues of $11.287 billion in 2011.