Antidote to alien impregnation? Insurance

May 21, 2007 @ 12:01 am

By Gary S. Mogel

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy insurance that covers the additional costs of misfortune.

Financial and insurance advisers who think they can’t do anything about the weather, affairs of the heart or the splitting of embryos risk hearing the most dreaded start to a client’s insurance question: “Why didn’t you tell me I could have bought ...”

Lovers want to cancel their wedding? Insurable, including counseling for emotional distress.

Honeymooners have to cut their trip short? Insurable, including evacuation from any locale, no matter how remote.

Couples incur extra expenses from having twins? Insurable, including the cost of extra diapers — but not the diapers that would have had to be purchased anyway due to a single birth.

Parents buy the twins a pony that promptly dies? Insurable, except for swamp fever, which many policies exclude.

These things aren’t as high in the financial-needs hierarchy as coverage on human lives, health and homes. But many clients who are alive, healthy and adequately housed have become extremely annoyed with the insurance advice — or lack of it — provided by their trusted financial professionals.

Passengers on the cruise ship Empress of the North, which ran aground off the Alaska coast this month, may wish they’d had some vacation insurance. Coverage for a full year of trips is available for $325.

Advisers may be proud that the Section 529 college savings plan that they recommended pays for the college education of a client’s child. Judicious investments may even make it possible for the client to throw a $15,000 graduation party.

But if the party is canceled due to storms along the East Coast that make it impossible for guests to travel, celebration insurance covers the non-refundable expenses and can purchased for as little as $95.

But if the adviser didn’t know the coverage existed, if and when the clients find out, lucrative retirement assets may be moved to a rival firm.

Advisers with clients who play golf should recommend a form of “hole in one” coverage that insures the cost of the traditional buying of beverages by the lucky duffer afterward. Often, everyone on the course — and many others — flocks to the 19th hole to celebrate.

Insurers that specialize in such exotic policies include American International Group Inc. in New York, The Chubb Corp. in Warren, N.J., and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co. in Novato, Calif.

Also not to be ignored are clients’ expensive hobbies and collections. Homeowners’ policies often limit or exclude such property.

For instance, wine collections can be ruined due to sudden changes in temperature that cause corks to spontaneously pop, and there are policies that cover such popping.

Works of art can be unexpectedly and embarrassingly damaged. This year, when casino entrepreneur Steve Wynn accidentally poked a hole in a $54 million Picasso painting while showing it off to friends in his Las Vegas office, Lloyd’s of London balked at paying, as the damage was “self-inflicted.”

Where there are wealthy clients there will be clients with eccentricities. Advisers must seek insurance covering risks associated with the eccentric in England, which specializes in that demographic.

Protection against abduction by aliens from outer space, being hit by an asteroid and John Wayne Bobbitt-style mutilation have been requested often enough to create a market. Policies are offered by

London-based broker Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson, which specializes in disability insurance from a wide variety of causes.

There was a rider to the abduction policy covering impregnation by aliens while onboard their spaceship. About 4,000 alien policies were purchased, and 300 of those included the pregnancy rider, according to the firm.

The policy was discontinued after members of a cult made excessive claims.

In addition, there are policies covering injuries inflicted by a ghost, and turning into a werewolf or vampire due to bites or other causes. None of these events is likely to occur, so insurance amounts are generous ($1 million or more), and premiums are small ($150 or less).

Advisers should consider these policies for clients for whom they may be appropriate.


What do you think?

View comments

Recommended for you

Sponsored financial news

Upcoming Event

Apr 30


Retirement Income Summit

Join InvestmentNews at the 12th annual Retirement Income Summit - the industry's premier retirement planning conference.Much has changed - and much remains to be learned. Attend and discuss how the future is full of opportunity for ... Learn more

Featured video


Albridge's Butler: Making advisers of tomorrow more effective and efficient

Gadget Girl checks out the latest tech from Albridge and how they're helping advisers stay one step ahead of the curve.

Video Spotlight

Will It Last As Long As Your Clients Do?

Sponsored by Prudential

Video Spotlight

The Catalyst

Sponsored by Pershing

Latest news & opinion

Wealth management firms struggle with lower fees, fewer new clients

Advisers in North America earned less from clients last year and saw a decline in average fees, according to a new report by PriceMetrix.

These investors are allowed to put $500K into a Roth IRA at once

The HEART Act permits rolling all or part of life-insurance and combat-related-fatality payouts directly into the tax-free retirement plan, but few take advantage.

Labor's Alexander Acosta and SEC's Jay Clayton tell lawmakers they will work together on fiduciary rule

In separate appearances before Senate panels, the regulators stressed the cooperation that Republican legislators and opponents of the DOL fiduciary rule are demanding.

Brian Block denies cooking the books at Schorsch REIT

Former CFO claims everything he did was 'appropriate' and 'correct.'

Interns will take on several roles at advisory firms this summer

College students are helping with client prep, firm visioning and long-term projects, among other duties.


Subscribe and Save 60%

Premium Access
Print + Digital

Learn more
Subscribe to Print