Whilst the world of nightclub insurance focus on somewhat unlikely but possible risks that could face people enjoying a night out, there are some situations considered so overwhelmingly unlikely that one could not imagine a policy being made for them.
And yet, a fast food restaurant chain did indeed take out “taco insurance” in 2001 that covered them in the unlikely event that a space station crashed on a 40-foot by 40-foot target in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Whilst context might not provide too much benefit, it is important to at least try to explain this bizarre set of circumstances.
In 2001, the Space Station Mir was set to return to Earth after 15 years in space, during which time the Soviet Union had collapsed and the world had changed entirely, entering a new millennium having stayed out in space three times longer than it should have.
The deorbiting program came about because the International Space Station programme was the focus of a new Russia, and left them without any money to keep supporting the old station.
Before the final reentry on 23rd March 2001, Taco Bell, a fast food chain known for Mexican cuisine, constructed a target in the South Pacific, over the projected reentry site, with the words “Free Taco Here” written in big purple letters.
If any part of the station hit the target, Taco Bell would give every person in the United States a free taco.
They were confident it wouldn’t, but to cover the millions of dollars of free tacos they would need to pay out, Taco Bell set up a very unusual bespoke insurance policy, the likes of which have never been seen before and may well never be seen again.
Ultimately, the policy was not needed as Mir landed nowhere near the target’s location, but as a consolation prize, the chain did offer tacos for less than a dollar.