Wild Insurance Facts That Prove The Industry Is More Than We Realize

Most people have some kind of insurance, whether it’s related to their health, car, or home. You might think that reading about insurance would be as interesting as watching paint dry, but there are actually some pretty interesting facts related to the topic.

For instance, there’s a famous coffee chain that spends more money on health insurance than its frappuccinos. And we mustn’t forget the deranged father who went to extreme measures to collect insurance money on Halloween. Read on for some fascinating facts about insurance.

The Apollo 11 Astronauts Couldn’t Get Life Insurance, But They Had An Ingenious Idea

landing on the moon
NASA/Liaison
NASA/Liaison

In 1969, one of the most dangerous jobs in the world was to fly to the moon. As such, the Apollo 11 astronauts had a tough time securing life insurance because they couldn’t afford the premium. Still, they wanted to protect their families financially in case something happened to them in space.

The three astronauts put their official autographs on special envelopes called “covers” that were postmarked on significant days (July 16, 1969, the day of the launch, for example). They figured that if they died, the autographs would be worth a lot of money.

An Insurance Company Once Offered A Cash Prize To The Person Who Found The Loch Ness Monster

GettyImages-3422579
Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Back in 1971, whiskey manufacturer Cutty Sark offered a $2.4 million award to anyone who could capture the Loch Ness monster. Then the company backed out of its offer and asked insurance company Lloyds of London to underwrite the prize instead. The insurance company agreed as long as it could keep Nessie if the monster was found.

It’s unclear why Cutty Sark thought someone may actually find the monster. Either way, it was a good publicity stunt that we’re still talking about today. And it also proves that insurance companies do some wacky things.

At One Point, Starbucks Was Paying More For Health Insurance Than It Was For Coffee

woman at starbucks
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images
Zhang Peng/LightRocket via Getty Images

In 2008, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz encountered a pretty big problem with his company. It was opening too many stores and couldn’t keep up with the growth. As a result, Starbucks had to cut $600 million in business costs, which involved layoffs and shutting down stores.

But one thing Schultz wouldn’t do is drop employee health care, which cost $300 million. This amount was more than the company spent on coffee! Starbucks managed to make a successful turnaround, and its workers didn’t lose their insurance.

You Can Purchase Alien Abduction Insurance

alien abduction insurance
Twitter/invasionrm
Twitter/invasionrm

The UFO Abduction Insurance Company in Altamonte Springs, Florida, has been offering coverage to consumers since 1987. You can get same-day shipping for the “$10 million policy,” and it includes a gold-bordered document and frequent flyer endorsement that is “suitable for framing.” You can get a paper copy for $24.95 or $19.95 for a digital copy.

The company recently added Area 51 coverage. If you have a problem, you simply need to file a claim and send it to an email listed on the website. We’re a little suspicious about the veracity of this policy, but if you are really afraid of being abducted it could offer some peace of mind.

Your Home Insurance May Provide Coverage For Meteor & Volcanic Damage

meteor shower
Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images
Sergei MalgavkoTASS via Getty Images

While home insurance policies don’t protect against flooding, there’s a good chance that it does cover damage from volcanoes and meteors. That’s why it’s important to thoroughly read your policy and consult with a professional to determine what is and isn’t covered.

This will help you decide if you want to add anything such as earthquake coverage, which typically isn’t included in most policies. However, earthquakes can strike in strange places, so it doesn’t hurt to get that extra protection.

Insurance Goes Back Thousands Of Years

Chinese Junk boats
Culture Club/Getty Images
Culture Club/Getty Images

Experts believe that the first appearance of insurance in history occurred in China around 3000 B.C. Merchants were very concerned that they would lose their merchandise in shipwrecks because they transported a lot of their goods on vessels on various waterways. So, several merchants teamed up and distributed their goods over several ships.

This protected them in the event that one of the ships got destroyed. Each merchant would suffer a little, but no one would experience a complete loss. Today, money is collected and pooled together, and when it’s needed, it is paid out in claims.

A Baseball Team Signed The Same Player For 20 Years So He Wouldn’t Lose His Insurance

Matt Lachappa
Pinterest/bkonceited
Pinterest/bkonceited

The San Diego Padres baseball team has employed the same player for two decades simply because it doesn’t want him to lose his health insurance. Former left-hander Matt LaChappa has been signed to a minor league deal every single year since 1996.

The reason why is because LaChappa had a heart attack when he was warming up in the bullpen for a Class-A game. The athlete was just 20 years old. He suffered brain damage from the heart attack and was confined to a wheelchair. The team is so supportive that it has also named a Little League field after LaChappa in Lakeside, California.

Thousands Of People Go Bankrupt Each Year Even If They Have Health Insurance

hospital scene
Alexander ShcherbakTASS via Getty Images
Alexander ShcherbakTASS via Getty Images

In the United States, thousands of people go bankrupt each year because they are unable to pay their bills. A whopping 62 percent of these bankruptcies are caused by medical bills. Believe it or not, most of these people had health insurance but still went bankrupt.

Specifically, four out of five of these people had health insurance. However, they struggled to pay a variety of bills, including co-payments, deductibles, and other uncovered services. Another problem is that some people get so sick that they lose their jobs as well as their insurance.

Many Home Insurance Policies Prohibit Certain Breeds Of Dogs

woman with her rottweiler
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images
Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post via Getty Images

If you have an Akita, Mastiff, Pit Bull, Alaskan Malamute, or a Rottweiler, you may have a tough time securing a home insurance policy. Oftentimes companies prohibit people from owning certain breeds of dogs because they are known for being more aggressive. For example, 4.5 million people get bit by a dog each year, and 20 percent of dog bites require medical assistance.

In 2017, homeowners reported $676 million in liability claims from dog bites and other dog-related incidents. However, people with at-risk breeds can shop around for extra coverage and policies that will cover their pets.

Japanese Life Insurance Pays Out Even If Someone Takes Their Own Life, Increasing The Number Of Deaths

a man praying
Richard Atrero de Guzman/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Richard Atrero de Guzman/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Every year, thousands of people, mostly men, take their own lives in Japan. Life insurance policies there will pay out even in these circumstances. According to Ken Joseph from the Japan Helpline, elderly people with financial issues often see it as a way of getting out of their problems.

“The insurance system in Japan is very lax when it comes to paying out” for self-inflicted death, he explained. “So when all else fails – some people feel – you can just kill yourself and the insurance will pay out.”

A Father Poisoned His Own Son’s Halloween Candy For Insurance Money

children trick-or-treating
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images
Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

In 1974, a man named Ronald Clark O’Bryan killed his eight-year-old son by injecting the boy’s Halloween candy with cyanide. O’Bryan committed the crime as part of a life insurance scheme. O’Bryan’s wife testified for the prosecution, and he was sentenced to death.

“We were all shocked that someone would kill their own son, their own flesh and blood, for a lousy … $40,000 life insurance policy,” said former Harris County Assistant District Attorney and prosecutor Mike Hinton. Even more horrifying, O’Bryan tried to poison at least four other kids, including his five-year-old daughter.

Sony Makes More Money Selling Insurance Than Electronics

a man at a sony store
Charlie Pérez/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Charlie Pérez/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Most Americans recognize Sony for its variety of electronic devices, including the Sony PlayStation and Sony Walkman. And while it makes a lot of money with these types of items, the company truly earns profits through its insurance business. You can’t get it in Europe or the United States, but it’s widely available in Japan.

Sony sells life, auto, and medical insurance. In 2012, 63 percent of its operating profit came from insurance. The company actually made over $9 billion over the course of a decade from life insurance alone.

The Amish Don’t Believe In Insurance & It Has To Do With The Bible

Amish family in buggy
Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Volkan Furuncu/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Amish don’t buy insurance because the “Bible teaches them that Christians should help take care of one another,” according to Donald Kraybill, a professor at Elizabethtown College and an expert on Anabaptist groups. As a result, they pay for medical bills using their own money.

Families combine money to cover health care expenses. One way they raise the money is through public auctions where Amish and non-Amish people can purchase pies, farming equipment, livestock, etc. The Amish do pay taxes, but they are exempt from paying for and receiving social security.

Teen Boys (& Their Parents) Pay A Lot For Car Insurance

a teenager pictured in a red car
mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images
mark peterson/Corbis via Getty Images

When your teen starts driving, expect to shell out a lot of money for car insurance. A parent who puts a teen son on his policy can expect the rate to be as much as $6,186, according to insurance.com. In fact, the rate can be as much as 227 percent higher when compared to an adult driver alone.

Teens who buy their own policies have to pay even more money. Sixteen-year-old boys have double the accidents as those aged 18 to 19. As such, putting a 16-year-old on your policy can increase the rate by $3,000 to $4,000.

Aflac Insurance Has Been One Of The World’s Most Ethical Companies For Over A Decade

GettyImages-456924770
Chance Yeh/Getty Images
Chance Yeh/Getty Images

Every year, the think tank group Ethisphere Institute compiles a list that ranks the most ethical companies in the world. In early 2019 Aflac was named one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies for a record-setting 13th consecutive year. Ethisphere focuses on business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption, and sustainability.

“Aflac’s commitment to serving the community with passion and compassion illustrates the core, fundamental spirit that drives our superior results, especially as the marketplace continues to demand ethical excellence from the business community,” Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos said.

Engagement Rings Were Initially Considered ‘Virginity Insurance’

Romantic marriage proposal on the beach at the seaside
Twitter/misterwrite4you
Twitter/misterwrite4you

Men have been buying their fiancees diamond rings for decades, but it wasn’t just a way of marking their territory. There used to be a law called “Breach of Promise to Marry” that permitted women to sue men who canceled an engagement. This is because women were expected to be virgins when they wed (or at least when they got engaged).

This virginity insurance was essential because about half of couples were intimate prior to their wedding day, and if the man left his fiancee before they tied the knot, the woman was considered “damaged” goods. This could potentially have a large effect on her financial value.

Gene Simmons’ Tongue Was Once Insured For $1 Million

GettyImages-459652168
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Gene Simmons is the legendary frontman of KISS, and during the height of the band’s popularity, the singer insured his tongue for $1 million. Simmons’ tongue was very famous in those days because he would wiggle and waggle it during concerts, to the delight of fans.

Simmons insured it because if something ever happened to his tongue, it would have had a pretty big effect on his performances. We’re not exactly sure what kind of trauma a tongue can experience except maybe getting a little burnt on a hot slice of pizza. Still, Simmons felt the policy was necessary.

Some People Without Insurance Use Fish Antibiotics When They’re Sick

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Sergei KarpukhinTASS via Getty Images
Sergei KarpukhinTASS via Getty Images

Health insurance can be very expensive, and not everyone can afford it. So, what do you do if you get sick? Some Americans buy antibiotics that are intended for fish. Obviously, it’s best to visit a doctor for a diagnosis and treatment, but people use fish antibiotics for a variety of reasons.

First, you can buy fish antibiotics without a prescription, which makes them easier to get. Second, they are usually less expensive than prescription antibiotics. Third, some people prefer treating themselves instead of seeing a doctor.

American Insurance Companies Refuse To Underwrite Films Starring Jackie Chan

GettyImages-858457574
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

When martial arts action star Jackie Chan makes a movie, he personally pays for all the medical bills with his own money. This has to do with a variety of safety and insurance regulations that the movie studios put in place. One of the problems is that they require protective gear, which Chan says is “very frustrating.”

However, things are different when he makes films in Hong Kong. “We just go ahead and do what needs to be done,” Chan explained. “There is no safety captain on the set.” He added that he uses his own experienced stunt team that he trusts to get the job done right.

Superstore & Ugly Betty Actress America Ferrera Insured Her Smile For $10 Million

GettyImages-1175162586
Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic
Rodin Eckenroth/FilmMagic

Back in 2007, British insurance firm Lloyd’s insured America Ferrera’s smile for $10 million. The policy was made in conjunction with teeth-whitening product Aquafresh White Trays. It was part of a promotion to bring attention to the American charity Smiles for Success.

“It’s very flattering to have my smile insured for $10 million, it’s not something that I ever imagined happening,” Ferrara said at the time. “I’ll try my hardest to take care of it.” The policy covered the star’s dental treatment costs and any accidental injury that may have occurred.