Friday 9 July 2021 5:00 pm

Branson and Bezos space race outruns insurers

Daily news reporter in City A.M.'s London newsroom

Billionaires Sir Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos are reportedly launching into space without insurance for injury or death. 

Brokers told the NYT’s Dealbook newsletter neither Branson or Bezos, or their respective companies Virgin Galactic and Blue Origin, have purchased liability insurance.

This is most likely because there isn’t a fully functioning insurance system for casual space travel. While companies such as Allianz began working on such policies in 2012, there is no evidence that any such policies have been sold.

Currently, only international flights are required to purchase liability insurance.

As the billionaire’s rockets launch and land in the US, they will technically be embarking on domestic flights.

Even once insurance catches up to space tourism, Virgin Galactic plans for customers to be fully responsible for their own safety and sign away the company’s liability in a contract.

Branson is scheduled to launch on Virgin Galactic’s V.S.S. Unity this Sunday. Nine days later, Jeff Bezos will follow suit on Blue Moon’s New Shepard rocket.

The V.S.S. Unity will carry a full crew of two pilots and four passengers. Three Virgin Galactic executives will be on board alongside Branson.

Bezos will be joined by famous aviator Wally Flunk, who will become the oldest person ever to travel to space, as well as a mystery person who paid $28m (£20m) for a seat on the flight.