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Could you insure Santa?

Could you insure Santa?

In the frosty corridors of the North Pole, where twinkling lights adorn evergreen trees and the air is filled with the sweet scent of gingerbread, one might assume that the only concerns occupying Santa’s mind are toy production and the naughty-or-nice list. What if, however, the big man was concerned about his insurance provision (It’s a stretch, I know, but bear with me)? Have you ever thought about how the protection industry would insure Old St Nic? Navigating Santa through underwriting would be no easy feat, but fear not! We’ve done the groundwork, ensuring that if Kris Kringle walks into your office seeking insurance this year (or next), you’re armed with the solutions!

As you may imagine, Santa’s application for protection insurance is likely to include a wide range of disclosures. Forgive me, but I am going to ignore age here as, lets face it no insurer will look at someone that is 512 (I asked my daughter and that is how old she said he is). We have broken them down to review how we might tackle each one with the expert help of Alan Knowles from Cura.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Perhaps the most obvious issue we are going to face with old Kris Kringle is his height weight ratio. Let’s face it his diet is a shambles and his waste measurements will prove it. Mince Pies and Mary Christmas’ cooking aside, I still think there is potential to get cover.

According to Alan Knowles, we are going to struggle to get traditional income protection if his BMI exceeds 40. For critical illness the limit will be around 44, however for Life cover we may be able to go up to 55 (if you have a relationship with Pulse, you may even get cover for slightly above 55).

Now Santa is a relatively tall man in my opinion, probably around 6 foot tall. At that height he would need to weigh more than 21 stone to exceed a BMI of 40 and based on pictures I have seen; I doubt he is. That aside, I would certainly encourage him to go for any medicals this side of Christmas so the extra Christmas even weight he will inevitably put on does not impact measurements (have you noticed that you never see pictures of Santa relaxing on Boxing Day?).


Now Santa is what I would call a binge drinker. For one day a year he probably has more than his fair share of Brandy (whisky when he gets to my house). Do we need to disclose this though? Most insurers will ask how much the life assured drinks in a “typical week”. We would need to discuss the big mans drinking habits for the rest of the year, but if he kept them modest, I do not think the week of Christmas is an “average week” and as such alcohol consumption is unlikely to be an issue across all benefit types.

Working at heights

We all know that St Nic’s Christmas eve activities will involve working at eye watering heights. Not only is he dancing along rooftops, but he also has to cater for kids in flats and other types of high-rise buildings. As such the working at heights in excess of 40 feet is way surpassed.

But wait… speaking to Alan, he mentions that insurers will generally ask if the life assured spends 25% of a “typical week” working at these heights. Again, is the week of Christmas a typical week? I can’t see Santa climbing on the roof of the factories in the North Pole when he has Elves to that for him. As such, assuming there are no other activities at heights of 40 feet on a day to day basis, heights are probably not a concern.

Being a Pilot

As a hugely skilled sleigh flyer, I think we would have to disclose that Santa is a pilot. Alan informs me that unless he is a stunt pilot, life and critical illness shouldn’t be a problem (Rudolf hates barrel rolling anyway!), the issue will be with income protection. First, we should ask if Santa has any loss of license cover (do you need a license to fly a sleigh???) as we do not want double cover. If not, then Alan would approach LV=, British Friendly and Holloway who seem to be more generous for pilots requiring IP. The snag here is that we may have to convince them that he is a commercial pilot?


Although no-one likes to think of a stressed Santa he can’t be immune to it! With the weight of every child in the worlds Christmas expectation, is it any wonder that the big man has slightly rosy cheeks? This does however, raise a serious issue and we may need to consider which insurers we approach.

When asking about mental health issues the preferred approach would not include reference to stress and only ask about episodes in the last few years where professional support was required. Where the question is presented in this way Santa could quite legitimately answer no.

Insurers that ask whether the life assured has ever encountered stress, anxiety or depression should be avoided. Writing this article has stressed me out and unless you are a Tibetan monk I am sure everyone experiences stress at one point or another so I am not sure how anyone can answer no to this kind of question.

Can we insure Santa?

One big issue when insuring Santa is how we get the medical evidence to the insurer. I am not sure whether we could get a medical arranged in the North Pole and I doubt many GPs in the area will be signed up to provide electronic GPRs. Perhaps the elves can use their magic to speed up the process or we can get the Polar Express involved? One thing that is clear is that medical evidence is likely to be required and this will likely slow things down!

Based on the evidence we have presented, I would actually be quite hopeful that we could get life and critical illness in place for the Big Man. Undoubtedly he would be rated for his BMI, however as long as he has not had any other weight related medical conditions we should be good.

Getting a traditional income protection plan in place may pose more problems. The combination of a high BMI and being a pilot is likely to stump us. Those highlighted as lenient for pilots may not be as lenient on BMI. Add stress to the equation and it may become even more complicated.

That said we do have other options. Short Term accident and sickness policies could be considered or an accident only plan such as that offered by National Friendly could at least give us some income cover. Let’s face it, when running across roofs, climbing down chimneys or sneaking through living rooms there are plenty of opportunities for an accident here or there? Surely Santa has fallen foul of a rogue skate or innocent piece of Lego and ended up flat on his back at least a few times?

Alternatively, if Santa took our earlier advice he would have put a group income protection scheme in place for the elves. If we cannot get cover in place through an individual plan, perhaps he could consider adding himself to the group plan within the free cover limit?

Whatever his actual situation I am sure that we know many advisers that could help get Santa insured. Alan Knowles and the team at Cura are certainly a good option and as Alan states, he would relish the opportunity;

“I find it stressful enough organising Christmas for my three children, so there’s no wonder that Santa has to rely on a few sherries when he’s organising for a couple of billion kids! That being said, with his high BMI, one binge night per year and occasional work at heights I’d certainly welcome the opportunity to find insurance for Jolly Old Saint Nic.”

With special thanks to Alan Knowles for all his expertise and patience in putting up with my nuttiness and Christmas spirit!

About The Author

Adam Higgs

Adam leads Protection Guru's detailed protection research and benchmarking of both product and operation features provided by insurers and has a vast knowledge of the protection market. He has been instrumental in building the protection comparison service Quality Analyser and maintaining the data to enable adviser to quickly and easily compare protection products based on qualitative measures. He also works with adviser firms to help in panel reviews and with insurers to help them understand the shape of the market, their strengths and the areas that could be improved in their products. In his spare time and when not spending time with his wife and two children, Adam is a keen Arsenal fan and enjoys hacking his way around a golf course.

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