Insurance isn’t a top priority at this time of year, but for businesses which concentrate their activity into just a few weeks each December — or even a single night — getting the right cover is an interesting question.
Santa Claus would need commercial property insurance and he would certainly find himself limited to high-risk property underwriters who may struggle to establish an accurate replacement value. Located where he is, and out of reach of the fire brigade and emergency services, the number of insurers willing to take on such risk would be minimal.
As a business owner he would also need to consider some kind of employer’s protection liability policy. Santa has an ageing workforce and, let’s face it, with a diet of mostly sweets they could have a lot of potential health issues, so any comprehensive workers’ cover is going to be hard to find.
Which leads to workers’ compensation and still more complications. Santa’s workforce uses older manual tools and would be subject to repetitive motion and other injuries. Hopefully, he is already complying with any legal requirements in that direction.
Santa could always look to a disability policy for himself, but walking over icy roof tops and sliding down into confined spaces, will make even the most warm-hearted underwriter issue a decline notice.
As a manufacturer he will also need general liability, and toy makers are never an easy class of business to underwrite. His products are used by children, distributed worldwide, and failure of, or injuries from his products, could be subject to multiple lawsuits. With the type of item he is producing and his global market, this would also be a tough policy to procure.
In today’s litigious climate, an errors and omissions or professional-liability insurance is a must. What would happen if Santa arrived when you were awake, or worse, if you had been good but your gift was delivered by mistake to someone on the naughty list? Without proper professional-liability protection, the red suited gentleman might find himself in some serious litigation without the proper cost of defence being provided.
But which generous soul is going to make a claim? It’s happened before, and the way the world is it’s bound to happen again. You may recall Santa appeared in court on identity-theft claims that arose while he was working for a department store on 34th Street. The charges were later dismissed, but there were still hefty defence costs to cover.
And when it comes to insuring his transport Santa faces real problems. First, he uses a custom-made vehicle for delivery purposes and, while it’s only used one day of the year, his delivery radius is huge, forcing him to travel thousands of miles in all kinds of weather. Then there’s the problem of trying to put a value on his sleigh, all in all putting a commercial-motor policy out of the question.
Finally, there’s life insurance. I’m pretty sure Santa would have a tough time finding and cover based on his age and, let’s face it, he could do with losing a few pounds. His Body Mass Index must be off the scale. Then there’s the question of exercise …
But what if Christmas was never meant to be analysed and underwritten. Maybe, it was just meant to be enjoyed — whatever the risk.