Insurer boldly goes into space travel

Space shuttle at lift offGermany's giant insurer Allianz is to boldly go where no insurer has gone before. It wants to build a policy for space travel – possibly the insurance industry's final frontier.

It has teamed up with the International Space Transport Association (ISTA) to offer cover for space tourism and commercial space flight. As Spock may have said, it's insurance, Jim, but not as we know it.

Space tourists

Allianz is co-developing travel insurance with ISTA for space tourists, space scientists and space liners, such as Virgin Galactic, Xcor and SpaceLinq. It is also looking at medical assistance solutions, as well as expert advice and personal services for space travellers.

The partners claim they are "committed to accompanying travellers before, during and after their space flight to ensure that their unique galactic experience, as well as the experience of their families back on earth, will be as safe, serene and comfortable as possible."

Virgin Galactic recently announced that the first commercial flight is being scheduled for October 2012. In the next few months Allianz Global Assistance will start contacting space liners, space scientists, travel agents, space travellers, and consumer organisations.

Next generation

Previous attempts to bring insurers and the space industry to agreement failed. "ISTA aims to bring together the space industry and its users. It has never been done before that space travellers and space line operators alike can obtain insurance coverage", says director-general Ronald Heister.?

Erick Morazin, director of global accounts at Allianz Global Assistance, said: "We are looking into space tourism as a new market for the next generation of travellers. Our partnership with the International Space Transport Association demonstrates our support and interest in the space travel industry.

"Space is decidedly our new frontier and we are now ready to take this giant leap forward to ensure peace of mind and well-being of all our future space-travelling customers."

Intergalactic legislation

Taras Ploshchansky, director legal affairs of ISTA in The Hague, said: "Our aim is to meet the needs of this new industry in terms of worldwide representation, guidance and support.

"Taking passengers, cargo and payload into space will require establishing and implementing new laws and regulations, as well as research, marketing and communication practices."

So, ready for lift off?
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