Space tourism has become a reality, what about insurance?

You are not in a Star Wars movie or any fiction, but in the real world. Space tourism will be soon accessible and will grow rapidly. In October 2019, Virgin Galactic, a space tourism company, got listed on New York Stock Exchange. Its first tourist flights are scheduled for 2020.

This company, founded in 2004, is not the only one to be active in this market which also includes Blue Origin, which began operations in 2000.

Discover our article on space insurance.

Space tourism: the offers

astronautThe two space tourism agencies offer:

  • Suborbital travel: lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes, the journey reaches an altitude of 100 km. In addition to the feeling of weightlessness offered by the mesosphere, participants will have the privilege of discovering the earth in a new way. More than 600 candidates are already registered for a suborbital trip. Lady Gaga and Ashton Kutcher are among the first travelers. The ticket price is worth 250 000 USD, a sum available to many wealthy individuals.
  • The stay in the International Space Station (ISS): This station which has been in orbit since 1998 is expected to be privatized by 2024. Space tourism agencies already offer stays of at least one week in this structure suspended at 408 km of altitude. Before the privatization date, NASA is willing to open the station to tourism as early as 2020. The U.S. space agency will charge 35 000 USD per night. Dennis Tito, an American businessman, has already made the trip in 2001 for 20 million USD. He is the first space tourist.
  • Visiting the moon or March will also be possible. These trips will be scheduled in several years.

Space tourism and insurance

Developing space tourism will not be possible without insurance. The problem is that the 1% space mortality rate is a major risk for insurers.

Despite the challenges, some insurers have already positioned themselves in this segment. Hiscox has been active in this market since 2010. Allianz Global Assistance has been interested in this activity since 2011. Other insurers, encouraged by the democratization of this type of tourism, will follow.

Over time, the risk will become more and more controlled, as was the case in the past for motor and civil aviation. The proposed covers will multiply with insurance premiums evolving downwards.

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