Japanese space agency Mitsui Sumitomo to sell insurance for civilian space travelers

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This file photo shows a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launching a Crew Dragon spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on September 15, 2021. (UPI/Kyodo)

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. will jointly develop insurance products for space travelers as they bet more civilians will venture beyond Earth in the future. coming.

The new products will likely cover travelers against property damage, just like existing travel insurance, as well as pre- and post-adventure bodily injury, the two organizations said last month.

JAXA will provide information such as the causes of accidents seen during its space missions or related training while Mitsui Sumitomo will offer insurance expertise such as risk assessment.

The number of civilians who remained in space rose to 29 last year, exceeding the number of astronauts who did so for the first time. Both organizations aim to launch the products before space travel becomes more mainstream.

The new insurance could be the first of its kind, as existing space products focus on compensating damaged assets such as rockets and satellites, an industry source said.

“Everyone is afraid of space travel to some degree,” said a product development manager. “We hope the new product will allay their fears and help promote the industry.”

National non-life insurers have stepped up their efforts in space as a new source of revenue.

Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance Co. plans to launch a service to monitor the health of space travelers and astronauts while Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. launched a service in August to offset costs when a satellite launch fails and qu ‘a reboot is required.

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