Who would insure Father Christmas? Colm Nugent, a barrister at Hardwicke, looks at the liabilities.
His employer's liability risk would be horrendous
The extra-jurisdictional risks involved in having a toyshop based at the North Pole would present a challenge to any broker.
The elves are unlikely to have completed risk assessments; Santa is probably unfamiliar with method statements and the contents cover for all the toys in the world would be an underwriter's nightmare.
Product liability cover
The elves may be industrious, but their knowledge of international toy certification when manufacturing them is likely to be minimal.
Insurers would want to see evidence of their training to operate machinery and the complex manufacturing process.
Injury and discrimination
Elven personal protective equipment would need to be available and its use enforced, even if respiratory masks restricted the ability to whistle while they worked.
Insurers might also be nervous at being exposed to lawsuits from non-elves who may claim they are being discriminated against.
Discrimination law in a non-territorial jurisdiction such as the North Pole may give rise to a host of forum conveniens issues.
International air freight
As an airborne craft, the sleigh would undoubtedly require aviation insurance cover.
As Santa is the only passenger, the passenger liability insurance may be modest but the in-flight insurance may be more problematic.
Parts and repair for a magical flying sleigh are unlikely to be available on eBay. The sleigh also traverses parts of the world ordinarily excluded from standard aviation cover.
Public liability insurance
The sleigh is taking off and landing at a large number of private dwellings.
The third party liability covers Santa, as the sleigh owner, for damage that his sleigh may do to roof-tops, chimneys and other aircraft that may be struck in a collision.
Santa is not known to have filed a flight plan before heading off.
The risks of stray parcels falling from sacks and injuring people below needs to be taken into account as well as risk involved in descending and ascending chimneys which are almost certainly not designated traffic routes within the meaning of any national legislation.
Santa would be an underwriting nightmare. Any cover would be on premiums so astronomical that they'd make those charged to a 17 year old for his used Supra Turbo GTI look modest by comparison.
This article was orignally published on Insurance Age
This content is provided free of charge for information purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. No responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by any member of Chambers or by Chambers as a whole.
Please note that we do not give legal advice on individual cases which may relate to this content other than by way of formal instruction of a member of Hardwicke. However if you have any other queries about this content please contact: