Launching into space? Not so fast. Insurers balk at new coverage

Source: Reuters

By Noor Zainab Hussain and Carolyn Cohn

Sept 1 (Reuters) – An ever-swelling amount of space debris is threatening satellites that hover around Earth, making insurers leery of offering coverage to the devices that transmit texts, maps, videos and scientific data, industry sources said.

Thousands of new satellites are being launched into areas where orbital rubbish has been accumulating since early space missions nearly 65 years ago. The surging collision risks have left the handful of insurers that offer satellite coverage pulling back or exiting the market, executives and analysts said.

“This is a real issue for insurance,” said Richard Parker, co-founder of Assure Space, a unit of AmTrust Financial.

Over a year ago, the company stopped providing spacecraft insurance in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) where most satellites operate. The few policies it has sold since then exclude collision damage.

“It may start to get difficult to get that type of coverage in the near future as more insurers realize that this is a significant risk that we can’t even get our arms around,” Parker told Reuters.

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