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Alien abduction insurance costs just $9.99

Look, we’re not completely sure what happened with this story—we were out in a field. There was a bright light, strange noises and then I’m tellin’ ya, we couldn’t seem to move our fingers across the laptop keyboard, and then we woke up in… Okay, you get the idea. And so do 5,000 other lucky people (or unlucky, depending on how you think about it). Alien abduction insurance. It’s a thing. It’s a cheap thing. In fact, it costs as little as a one-time payment of $9.99 U.S.— and that’s for a $10,000,000 policy that pays out as soon as you prove aliens took you into their UFO against your will.

Mike St. Lawrence, president of the UFO Abduction Insurance Company in Altamont Springs, Fla., started selling these policies in 1987 after watching CNN as Whitley Strieber was plugging his latest book at the time, Communion, which just happened to be about the author’s alleged alien abduction.

“That was the first time I’d paid attention to the topic,” he says, but his brother immediately suggested he do something about alien abductions. St. Lawrence had already come up with the headline-grabbing product of reincarnation insurance, so “I sat down and in fifteen minutes, I wrote a policy, and the rest is history.” The first draft, however, needed a few tweaks. “I had to change a couple of terms in the policy because Mexicans and you Canadians could have put me out of business in two hours if they wanted to. It has to be an alien not from this planet that abducts you.” And they have to take you aboard their UFO—a Martian locking you in a 7/11 bathroom won’t cut it.

And the company has actually paid out a few claims. In the early ’90s, St. Lawrence says, a policyholder claimed to have been whisked away on a spaceship, where he was implanted with a mysterious device before being returned to earth. An MIT professor (whose name, alas, St. Lawrence can’t recall) supposedly confirmed the claimant had an implant in his body that “was not made of any earthly substance.” (Funny how the good prof didn’t see fit to share his findings with the scientific community; at least we haven’t read anything about it in Maclean’s). St. Lawrence, satisfied with the evidence, began writing cheques.

But UFO Abduction Insurance doesn’t pay out in millions. The policy states claimants receive $1 a year for the next ten million years. “We don’t want to put a tax burden on anybody.”