You like to think of yourself as someone who’s prepared. Your home is covered by flood insurance, you’ve got a robust auto insurance policy and maybe even something extra, such as life insurance. But what if you’re abducted by aliens?
In that case, Mike St. Lawrence in Altamonte Springs has you covered. His company, The St. Lawrence Agency, provides alien abduction insurance.
“Our policy is not so much about the money,” he said. “It’s peace of mind.”
St. Lawrence has sold about 6,000 policies, all for $10 million worth of coverage. A flat rate of $19.95 comes with a digital copy of the policy, while $24.95 gets a policyholder a printed version of the certificate “suitable for framing.”
The insurance comes with expansive coverage. For one, policyholders get medical coverage with outpatient psychiatric care (“We know there’s a readjustment period,” St. Lawrence said), and sarcasm coverage to protect against immediate family members. Policyholders are eligible for double the coverage, $20 million, should the extraterrestrials request any conjugal visits, provide offspring or attempt to eat the policyholder.
But to qualify for a claim?
“You have to come back,” St. Lawrence said, with the signature of an “authorized, on-board alien.”
The "policy" is largely in-jest, of course. But if it were real, it would fall under a legitimate portion of the insurance industry — surplus lines of insurance. The category, which covers any risk that falls outside of traditional products, also encompasses celebrity body part policies; Taylor Swift's apparent $40 million policy on her legs, Jennifer Lopez’s supposed $27 million coverage for her butt, for example.
And it accounts for more mundane things.
“We see it a lot in flood (insurance),” said David Kodama, assistant vice president for policy analysis and research at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association. The association is a trade group for major property and casualty insurers.
Homes with multiple flood claims over the years sometimes get declined by the traditional market, he said, and are forced to seek coverage under surplus insurance.
Before being interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times, Kodama hadn’t personally heard of alien abduction insurance products being formally offered.
“Years ago when there was an event of a UFO sighting, people were concerned about that type of thing,” he said. “There was talk of that product being developed.”
He said it wouldn’t be out of the question for some of the more risk-friendly members of the association to provide. They would just need to determine what is going to be insured, how likely the event is and how much risk is associated with it. The hefty $10 million coverage, he said, did worry him in terms of risk to St. Lawrence’s agency.
“It may sound like a crazy thing that would never happen, but crazy happens all the time,” Kodama said.
St. Lawrence isn’t the only one who’s dipped into the space since he first offered the product in 1987.
One of the most well-known instances of an alien abduction insurance policy was in the late 1990s. Members of the Heaven’s Gate cult committed mass suicide in 1997, believing it would help them get to God, who they thought was an alien following the Hale-Bopp comet.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the 39 members of the group bought an abduction policy from Goodfellow Rebeca Ingrams Pearson, a now-defunct insurance broker. The policy would pay $1 million to the cult members' beneficiaries and cost $1,000 per year. At the time, the company said 4,000 people had taken out similar policies.
Budget Insurance, a company in the United Kingdom, appears to have dabbled in the space, as it has a web page that says “alien insurance coming soon.” The bottom of the page contains a link to the company’s Facebook, referencing a promotion where customers could win a DVD copy of the alien movie Arrival.
According to spokeswoman Rebecca McKie, “alien insurance no longer forms part of our plans for the business.”
St. Lawrence has paid at least two claims since 1987. One man supposedly had an object implanted in his body that was tested by someone at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. That counted as proof enough for St. Lawrence, who paid him annually for about eight years before he lost track of the man.
The other was a man who said he was abducted and also had proof: a completely black Polaroid picture, the supposed inside of a UFO.
“He had written in the margins of it, ‘This side up,’ ” St. Lawrence said. “Because he got (the humor), I approved his claim.”
If you’re wondering how he can afford $20 million for the two men, he doesn’t have to pay it all at once. The policy pays out the $10 million in distributions of $1 per year for 10 million years.
Most of his time is spent on his other business, a payroll company called Comp-Pay Services. He started the insurance side hustle by offering reincarnation insurance, later switching to alien abduction insurance after he saw an interview about extraterrestrials.
“I wanted to be a comedy writer,” St. Lawrence said. “This is giving me an outlet to put my sense of humor out there.”
Contact Malena Carollo at [email protected] or 727-892-2249. Follow @malenacarollo.