Allianz counts down to space insurance launch

German insurance giant Allianz will launch special insurance to so-called “space tourists” next year, according to a media report.

Allianz counts down to space insurance launch
Photo: DPA

The countdown to launch of the insurance – which will cost between $700 (€518) and $10,000 (€7,399) depending on the coverage requested – will coincide with the expected start of commercial near-space flights next year by the Virgin Galactic company.

Virgin Galactic, which is owned by the Virgin Group and its boss Richard Branson, plans to charge customers $200,000 (€147,927) for the privilege of a brief flight to the edge of where outer space begins.

There the tourists will experience weightlessness and the blackness of space, almost like astronauts.

Erick Morazin, an Allianz account director, told Reuters that Allianz had about 20 different policies to cover everything from medical problems to incidents with luggage although he declined to go into detail.

“We’re looking into space tourism as a new market for the next generation of travellers,” Morazin told Reuters.

Though there are several firms that want to take paying customers to outer space, Virgin Galactic has been among the most aggressive and widely recognised.

In October it selected its first “commercial astronaut pilot” – a former US military veteran – after a worldwide competition.

The Local/mdm

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Allianz insured missing AirAsia plane

German insurance giant Allianz confirmed on Monday that the firm is the main insurance comapany for AirAsia, the operator a plane that has been missing since Saturday.

Allianz insured missing AirAsia plane
An arrivals board tells customers to "Go to info counter" at Singapore airport Photo: DPA
German insurance giant Allianz confirmed on Monday that the firm is the main insurance comapany for AirAsia, the operator a plane that has been missing since Saturday. 
"We can confirm that Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty UK is the lead reinsurer for AirAsia, for aviation hull and liabilty insurance," a spokesperson said in a statement. 
"It is much too early to comment on reports of this incident at this stage, except to say that our thoughts and prayer are with all those affected by this missing flight." 
Multinational teams searched Monday for any signs of the Airbus 320-200 jet more than a day after  Flight QZ8501 disappeared over the Java Sea with 162 people on board. 
BBC reported that recovery crews are now focussing on an area where an oil spill had been spotted by the Indonesian air force, though it was not clear if it had come from the missing plane. 
The plan lost contact an hour after take off en route from Surabaya in Indonesia's east Jave to Singapore on Sunday after the crew requested a change of flight plan due to stormy weather. 
The head of the search and rescue team told the press on Monday that QZ8501 was likely "at the bottom of the sea". 
It's means that Allianz could be on the hook for another hefty payout, as the latest disapearance marks the end of a disastrous year for Malsian aviation. 
Malaysia Airlies Flight MH370 disappeared while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March with 239 passengers and crew. In July, MH17 was shot down over troubled Ukraine, killing all 298 passengers and crew. 
Allianz was also the lead insurer on this planes. 
"We stand by to support our clients as fully and quickly as possible, working in conjunction with the insurance broker and our co-reinsurers," Allianz's statement read. 
The insurer has already seen a drop in stock prices by 1.4 percent since trading began at 8am on Monday. 
AirAsia is the region's biggest low-cost airline and has, until now, had a spotless flying record since its founding in 2001.