November 10, 2014 | Written by: Tony Boobier
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We all have secrets, some more than others. Amongst mine is that, in my sporting youth, I was a soccer goalkeeper – but I am in good company, as I’m joined by Pope John Paul I and also by Pavarotti. But the secret I want to share with you today is about what I was up to in about 1980.
It was in the shadow of nuclear threats, and I had just graduated as a structural engineer from University, on a meagre salary. I was asked by a local builder if I would design a nuclear bomb shelter in reinforced concrete, for domestic use to be buried in the bottom of the garden. The more astute amongst you will realise that there are very few design criteria for such a thing, but with a little cooperation from the local authority we were able to agree on a design, the builder was happy, and I got enough money to visit my girlfriend (who is now my wife).
Incidentally, I have no idea how many nuclear shelters to my design were built, if any.
So what’s this got to do with insurance? I was interested to see one of the major brokers launch a new product in respect of the possibility of business interruption as a result of the Ebola scare.
It focuses on loss following non-physical damage in the event that a healthcare organisation needs to be shut down. Other insurers are offering similar cover for restaurants, theaters, hotels and other public spaces.
Notwithstanding the possibility for some duplication of cover, the role of insurance purposefully provides protection, even against pandemic. It was even suggested recently that if there was a problem, “In a typical year life insurers pay about two million death claims,so another 100,000 would be only five percent more than typical.” It’s a clear case of the insurance industry playing the problem down.
But I wonder, are there any similarities between my design of a nuclear bunker, and their design of an Ebola policy. I can think of at least one similarity. In the event of either needing to be used, then we know that things are pretty bad, to say the least. I don’t mind people selling or buying Ebola cover – but I just hope, like my bunker, that they never have need to use it.