You have to admit – jolly old St. Nicholas runs one heck of a business operation. He employees a huge number of elves and maintains a herd of reindeer. He runs a factory that operates 24/7, along with a busy warehouse and shipping operation. He has at least one specialty vehicle, although we suspect he also needs some back-ups. Like any good business person, he needs solid insurance coverage to protect the business should anything go amiss.
Gregory Boop of About.com’s business insurance page has previously discussed the various types of insurance coverage that Santa Claus needs.
First, as an employer, he is mandated to have workers compensation overage for his elves. And to be a good employer, he should also provide health insurance, too. The elves are pretty loyal workers – to show appreciation for this, Santa should consider disability insurance and some type of retirement planning, such as 401k options.
We agree that he needs commercial general liability coverage, as well as product liability coverage. Gregory suggests that Santa needs commercial auto insurance and a specialized equipment rider … but we are not so sure we would classify Santa’s sleigh as an auto – we think it might be better for Santa to have aircraft coverage. He might also benefit by travel insurance and pet insurance for the reindeer. Gregory also suggests that Santa should have key man coverage on himself since he is so essential to the operation. Good idea.
A good agent would probably also point out to Santa that he could also use some good business counsel to ensure that he does not fall afoul of any employment laws – some feel that his employment practices may border on being a sweat shop.
Now apart from the needs of his business, Santa himself has some specialized insurance needs. He needs a heck of a life insurance policy and it poses some significant challenges for his insurance agent. He’s getting on in years, he’s overweight, he’s been known to smoke a pipe and drink brandy, and he’s got a lead foot when driving his sleigh. He also faces a lot of on-the-job hazards. Even before that big day of the year, he travels to thousands of shopping malls and meets millions of kids. This year, that means he is at heightened risk for the H1N1 virus. Not to mention all the other hazards that Santa faces – he can be exposed to everything from back strain while lifting kids to a wet lap caused by terrified children. It’s hard to believe, but not everyone loves Santa.
Santa has already given some thought to his insurance coverage because we read a few years ago that he has insured his trademark beard with Lloyds of London. Last year, the guy in the famous red suit also talked about his own special circumstances and the need for Background Checks and the need for insurance. That’s a good start, but today, he’d do well to have insurance for cyber liability and against identity theft, too. Santa, we’re worried about you. Call your agent, we can help!
Homeowners & Santa Claus
And what about you as the host? Are you properly covered to entertain a V.I.P. like Santa in your home? What if your dog bites Santa or he gets stuck in your chimney – are you covered against these or any other mishaps while he’s on your property? If you have homeowners insurance or rental insurance, the personal liability and medical payments portions should cover you, but you may want to check your coverage limits and deductibles. If you are hiring a Santa stand-in for a party, there are some other things you should consider to limit your liability: Covering the Santa Clause.
If you plan to leave any sweets out for the big guy, Mrs Claus issues this plaintive plea: Please skip the cookies – Santa has a weight problem. Consider leaving a healthier snack. If you decide to leave cookies out anyway, you may want to get Santa to sign Christmas Cookie Liability and Indemnification Agreement. And something that should go without saying – don’t leave any wine or brandy out – you don’t want to be liable if a tipsy Santa leaves your house and has a DUI accident!
The cute dancing Santa illustration and gif is by Nicolas MÃ©nard.
Parts of this post were reprinted and updated from our Consumer Information Blog – check that out too!