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Moon NASA The Almighty Buck Idle

What The Apollo 11 Crew Did For Life Insurance 168

Back in 1969 insurance companies weren't very optimistic about the odds of an astronaut making it back to earth after being launched in a rocket to the moon. The cost of life insurance for the Apollo 11 crew was astronomically high so they came up with a clever solution. A month before launch, the astronauts signed hundreds of autographs that were to be sold if they didn't make it back. From the article: "About a month before Apollo 11 was set to launch, the three astronauts entered quarantine. And, during free moments in the following weeks, each of the astronauts signed hundreds of covers. They gave them to a friend. And on important days — the day of the launch, the day the astronauts landed on the moon — their friend got them to the post office and got them postmarked, and then distributed them to the astronauts' families. It was life insurance in the form of autographs."
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What The Apollo 11 Crew Did For Life Insurance

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2012 @04:58AM (#41187579)

    If that group of people didn't want to take the risk, they could have stepped back. There would have been no shortage of applicants to replace them. If an astronaut with a family is not insurable, then perhaps people with families that depend on them shouldn't ride into space on tons of rocket fuel.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2012 @05:44AM (#41187769)

    This contrasts sharply with the actions of some members of the Apollo 15 crew that actively attempted to profit from lunar memorabilia of their own [wikipedia.org] creation [wikipedia.org].

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2012 @06:25AM (#41187945)

    bet against yourself?

    This is the entire crux of life insurance anyway.

    You buy life insurance because your wager is that you're going to die at any moment

    Insurance companies wager that you're not going to die for a very long time...or at least long enough to rake in a decent profit.

  • by OverkillTASF ( 670675 ) on Friday August 31, 2012 @09:28AM (#41189139)
    "heros that are sent to war, they die and their families get a flag"


    An LA times article on war death benefits:
    http://articles.latimes.com/2003/apr/05/news/war-benefits5 [latimes.com]

    And the department of veterans' affairs if you want to go reading more: http://www.vba.va.gov/survivors/agencies.htm [va.gov]

    These things aren't generally just a flat lump sum payment. And a lot of it I'm sure military members can opt out of, probably for some negligible increase in base pay. Military families aren't left to twist in the wind when their service member dies. If you're father dies in military service, that shouldn't be treated like a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket. As in any job, if you're in the military it is up to you to ensure the financial security of your family. Many of the benefits are opt-in benefits like very cheap life insurance, matched savings plans, etc. If you are the type who doesn't save a dime, lives at the very edge of your means, and doesn't contribute to any kind of retirement/life insurance fund... you've screwed your families future over, not the U.S. Government. Even in the worst case scenario, families are at least compensated sufficiently (financially) for a few years. No amount of money is going to replace a lost loved one on an emotional scale, but seems to me that the U.S. military does a good job of making it plenty financially survivable.
  • by Roujo ( 2577771 ) on Friday August 31, 2012 @09:29AM (#41189143)
    It's the opposite, really. A hedge is something you do in case your bet fails, so since insurance is a hedge, the wager cannot be that you're going to die. You bet/wager that you're going to keep living, and you hedge that bet by getting insurance just in case.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2012 @10:04AM (#41189545)

    99% disagrees.

    FTFY - You don't see the 1% complaining that the poor don't pay their fair share, despite the fact that they pay 38% [mercatus.org] of federal income taxes, when they only earn 22% [nytimes.com] of total US income. Interesting that the bottom 50% of the population only pays 2.7% of federal income taxes. THOSE are the people asking for free money.

A consultant is a person who borrows your watch, tells you what time it is, pockets the watch, and sends you a bill for it.