For tourists, space travel represents an exciting and unexplored frontier. For insurers, the prospect of insuring commercial space travel offers great opportunity, but it is also riddled with uncertainty.
Companies such as Space X and Virgin Galactic are taking steps to offer space tourism to the mainstream public. If Space X and Virgin Galactic succeed in providing mainstream commercial space flight, they will need to offer insurance. Insurance helps commercial space flight operators to better manage and assess risk and therefore allow them to grow. However, since commercial space flight is a fledgling industry, insurers will have trouble calculating insurance risks and premiums.
“In my opinion, two of the most pressing issues faced by insurance companies hoping to cover space tourism is first, lack of a track record upon which a statistical analysis can be made,” University of Mississippi Professor Joanne Gabrynowicz said. “The second is a large enough pool of funds that needs to be available in the event a claim is made for which a payment has to be made.”