The close of the year has brought a crop of new blockbuster movies. Mayhem generally ensues, so what would the insurers pay out for the damage Bond does, for example? Angus Tucker assesses the claims in three top movies
The world is not enough
James Bond. Now there's a name synonymous with destruction. He may save the world, but who picks up the bills? As Zukovsky (Robbie Coltrane) says: "James Bond - why is it that when I see you I worry that I am not carrying enough insurance?"
This episode starts in London. Blowing a hole in the MI6 building is doubtless uninsured as a government building, so it is you and I as taxpayers footing that bill.
Hopefully, MI6 does carry some liability cover in view of what follows, with a multitude of insurers looking for subrogated recovery. Various marine covers come into play, as a glass topped pleasure boat becomes open topped and a Thames barge is blown to smithereens. Thames Waters insurers will have winced at the ongoing systematic altering of waterside jetties and piers.
A day's trade disappears in the fish market, and substantial material damage and business interruption losses will arise from the riverside restaurant that sees Bond's speedboat ploughing through its centre. As with Gremlins we also ponder the extent of coverage for aerial devices as Bond falls from the sky and dents the Millennium Dome.
Moving to Eastern Europe, the first claim for the King Organisation appears with four parahawk snowmobiles written off. As the clothing and equipment of the parahawks had been loaned by the military one wonders if there will be goods in trust claims arising.
As the destruction of the nuclear weapons facility in Kazakhstan would certainly be uninsured, we are back with the King Organisation's insurers for the next loss in Azerbaijan. This time a construction all risks claim appears when a large section of the oil pipeline under construction is blown up and disappears into a hole in the scenery.
We then move to the Caspian and a mixed bag of disasters, which prompts Zukovsky to declare: "The insurance company is never going to believe this." His caviar factory roof is torn off, and the walls then fall apart. The raised roadways are blown up, or slashed to pieces. His motor insurers also have a claim for a Rolls Royce now at the bottom of the Caspian Sea. King's insurers continue their involvement, this time with aviation losses for a helicopter.
This claims department job creation scheme then moves to Istanbul. Property losses arise with a building blown up, and the Maidens Tower, a well-known tourist attraction, needing a complete facelift, plus numerous bullet holes plugging. Finally a lot of lost turnover when a Russian nuclear submarine exploding in the harbour does nothing for either local commerce or the tourist industry, although one would need to look for loss of attraction covers for most of this.
Christmas Eve at Nakatomi Plaza and an enjoyable office party is starting when Alan Rickman and his buddies gatecrash.
So what potential claims could we be looking at once the action is over? There would be a major loss under the property cover. The building would need a tad more than Bruce Willis's assessment of " a new paint job and a shed-load of screen doors". A number of perils have operated. Explosion damage has occurred to a number of the lower floors plus the upper floors and roof - thoughtfully blown away by Rickman. For the remainder of the building we have damage from fires and water from the sprinklers and an overflowing Japanese water garden.
We also have damage under the aircraft and devices dropped therefrom section where the helicopter dropped on the building. What is left would doubtless give rise to losses under the accidental damage to glass section. On the plus side there may be some salvage value in the not inconsiderable volume of brass shell cases littering the building.
If the cover is perils rather than all risks any damage not under the above could be looked at under the theft section. This does require forcible or violent entry or exit. While the bad guys merely walked in through the front door and up the lift, one could suppose that popping off the two security guards as they did so constitutes a violent entry?
What other claims would we have? Part of the air conditioning system is riddled with bullet holes, but this may be an improvement allowing a better flow of air. Under the money section a rather large amount of share certificates and negotiable bonds are either shredded or floating all over Century City. There would also be some motor claims. A police car turned into "a cheese grater", a slightly shortened stretch limo, a stolen truck and possibly a "toasted" police RPV, although it is the latter would have cover, and anyway this could be argued to be normal wear and tear of the job.
Two potential claims under the Nakatomi employees' life cover would arise, with possibly a key man claim on Joe Takagi.
The whole area then has the power supply turned off, with inevitable business interruption losses. However, this may be excluded as most public utilities extensions require accidental failure and exclude a deliberate act.
Oh, and two items under Officer John McClane's personal effects policy: the laundry bill for one vest and the loss of a pair of shoes.
Christmas Eve in Kingston Falls and once more the peaceful night is shattered by violence and destruction - this time by unpleasant little green creatures.
Here we are faced with claims over a large area of the town, rather than a single location, with the majority being around the town centre. Property losses, including business interruption, are considerable. There are also a large number of motor claims with damaged vehicles littering the landscape, especially around junctions controlled by traffic lights. Perhaps the single largest claim will come from the cinema, which has been effectively destroyed by an explosion. However, while the explosion is due to a gas leak, this was no accidental leak, but was deliberately caused by Billy Peltzer.
Billy could face a number of subrogated recovery claims. No doubt the insurers of the department store will be near the front of the queue: breaking and entering, plus considerable damage to contents and stock in the sports, toy and gardening sections.
Billy's own house will form part of the claims, with extensive redecoration required if nothing else. Liquidised gremlin stains on the kitchen walls will certainly need an experienced damage reclamation company.
Policy interpretation could tax a few brains. Does Mrs Deagle constitute an "aerial device" within the meaning of the policy when she catapults through the side of the house on the rogue chair lift?
For perils policies a lot of the claims may be under the malicious damage sections. But the wordings often refer to damage caused by "malicious persons" -- are our little green friends "persons" as intended by those who drafted the wordings?
How will insurers respond to some of the claim forms received? Take the Futtermans' claim - on the face of it a straightforward loss resulting from impact by road vehicle, even if it was Futterman's own Kentucky Harvester. But picture the reaction to the section enquiring if the identity of persons causing the damage is known. "Driven by three-foot high green creatures with sharp fingernails and teeth." Unfortunately no address for the miscreants, so there goes any recovery.
Angus Tucker is a claims consultant at Deloitte & Touche