An alien invasion is undoubtedly a risk of a black Swan event, though with a rather lower likelihood but considerably higher consequences.
Apparently this is not a completely ridiculous threat because it was raised by the World Economic Forum (WEF), a very serious organisation from Switzerland, supported by a host of the most prominent players in the insurance industry. And no one else, but the WEF in its wellknown annual survey “Global Risk” 2013, the only one, but still an important chapter dedicated to so called “X factors”.
In the “X” chapter we can find several paragraphs on risks with a very, very low probability, among them an “Extra-terrestrial life discovery”. It should be immediately noted that all of these “E.T” considerations are basically optimistic and suggest a number of quite positive consequences of such a seminal discovery. (By the way, honestly speaking, if anyone had someone to discover, that would be “us”, and not vice versa.)
The positive effects of the forementioned discovery would indeed bring us to, even spotting of a very tiny piece of life, not to mention the Aliens and even if only at a distance, through a telescope. Among the benefits of such an event the World Economic Forum lists a cosmic increase in spending on space exploration, with an emphasis on the creation of artificial intelligence (that we will send warily as date bait) an emergence of many new branches of science and industry. The WEF report also considers the social effects of a Contact event and even suggests serious problems for the Vatican.
With all these optimistic assumptions the whole range of threats associated with such a meaningful event is not mentioned in the Global Risk “X factors” at all. Among them we can, on the spot, even without asking 1000 experts from around the world (as does the report) bandying around other E.T. – threats or related ideas, for example, malicious incineration of the population with the use of light rays; immobilizing of cars, not included in insurance terms and conditions; kidnapping for the “Newcomers’” breakfasts (or any other meal they use to celebrate while invading), more or less sophisticated abductions (conceivably for sex), the locking away of captives in cages as their guinea pigs or just for fun etc.
Otherwise, the catalogue of risks associated with an arrival of Aliens is widely discussed and shown in easilyaccessible literature and video materials. Speaking about material losses caused by the extra-terrestrial force, it can be seen at once that there is a wide scope of activity for insurance companies, both locally and globally. But is the risk of an attack from the space insurable at all?
This is probably the moment when Lloyds’ syndicates smile indulgently, thinking about much more sophisticated risk than they insured in the past. A classic example is an insurance payment of a prize in a competition organized some time ago by the producer of Cutty Sark whisky. According to the rules of the contest, the winner of 1.5 million pounds was ( merely) supposed to find the famous Loch Ness Monster. Another similar example can be the insurance of triathlon participants in Scotland (100 Ironmen, 1.5 million per capita) in the event of an attack by that same monster (not found so far, as we know). Here wealso have a journalistic obligation to mention that in response to this insurance activity a violent, official protest was issued by the official Monster Fan Club, arguing that The Loch Ness Monster had never been aggressive and its loss ratio was undoubtedly nil.
Furthermore, those willing to provide coverage of the E.T. risks will not be very many, but there is no shortage. Let’s take an example from the US, where a “UFO Abduction Insurance Company” offers an attractive coverage of $20 million for just a $10 premium. Here, however, as is usually the case, it is important to carefully read the Terms & Conditions, because a desired compensation for the victims of UFO’s will be only possible upon proper completion of an attached form certifying the fact of being subject to examinations by the Aliens. And this may be difficult, because no one knows, for example, whether to go to a family doctor or the Healthcare Department. The good news is that the indemnity will be automatically doubled if the Aliens insisted on conjugal visits or if the intention of the kidnapping took was food. Reportedly, up to now they have only sold two policies, so…
Readers may fall down laughing, thinking that no business like an insurer underwrites such a policy but there are other examples of insurance against Aliens . We were even able to find web pages belonging to a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, which otherwise sold, for example about 12 million car insurance policies a year. Elsewhere we can find that another insurer, this time from the UK has already sold ca. 30 thousand (sic) similar policies. So we can conclude there is a market, so the risk must exist.
By the way, if we have already touched on the subject of insurance innovation we should also mention a wide range of insurance coverage for space risks, such as a meteorite impact, which we tangibly experienced two years ago in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The other supernatural and exotic risks to be covered include such phenomena as werewolf attacks, poltergeists or immaculate conceptions. However, let me address this another time…