A Christmas (Insurance) Story: Broker identifies risks in classic holiday film

Lockton took a light-hearted look at the liabilities associated with Ralphie's Red Ryder and Dad's infamous leg lamp.

A Christmas (Insurance) Story: Broker identifies risks in classic holiday film

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For insurance broker Lockton, “You’ll shoot your eye out” was more than a funny catchphrase from a classic holiday film—it was an invitation to estimate the cost of coverage for everything from Ralphie Parker’s Red Ryder BB gun to Mr. Parker’s “fra-gee-lay” leg lamp.

Lockton employees took a look at the risk management liabilities in Jean Shepherd’s 1983 “A Christmas Story” in a light-hearted complimentary white paper this week, titled “Ralphie’s Risk Management” story.

The broker reimagined the modern-day Ralphie into an insurance professional, having given up his dreams of busting Black Bart in favor of assessing the cost of coverage for the memorable risks of his youth.

Here’s what Ralphie—with the help of Lockton—came up with.

The Triple-Dog Dare. Ralphie’s friend Flick found himself in a compromising position when he accepted a dare to stick his tongue to the frozen flagpole outside Warren G. Harding Elementary School. Ms. Shields, the boys’ teacher, would have been insured through the school’s student accident policy, which Lockton estimated at $250,000 per individual for an annual premium of $480.

The “Major Award.” Mr. Parker slaved away all year solving newspaper crossword puzzles in exchange for the impressive sight of a sexy electric leg lamp in his living room window. Mrs. Parker’s jealousy, however, prompted a not-so-accidental vacuuming mishap that left the lamp in pieces.

Using a third-party appraiser, Lockton set the lamp’s value at $1,000,000 and arranged “Lloyd’s Lamp Coverage” for $5,000 premium.

Ralphie’s Red Ryder BB Gun. Ralphie ended up fulfilling the season-long prophecy that he would shoot his eye out—something that may have given him a $1,000,000 payout if the Red Ryder makers had a good general liability products policy.

Lockton’s risk management team came up with the figure by securing a recall endorsement to cover the costs associated with recalling the BB guns.

The Pink Bunny Suit. Aunt Clara horrified Ralphie with her hand-sewn pink bunny pajamas, but what if the present had been delayed by the shipping company? Ralphie may have been happy, but the shipping company would have faced a payout under their $50,000 inland marine policy.

Christmas is, after all, one of the busiest shipping times of the year, Lockton notes. Good thing the shipping company paid its $40,000 premium.

Chop Suey Palace Employees. After the neighbors’ dogs destroyed Mrs. Parker’s Christmas turkey, the family bundled up and headed over the Chop Suey Palace for “Chinese Turkey.” Lockton figured the employees of the Indiana establishment would have needed a quality workers’ compensation policy with all the butcher knife wielding that took place there.

Chop Suey should have paid a $1,500 premium for $100,000 in its annual payroll, Lockton found.

Lockton also estimated the value of the Parker family home in fictional Hohman, Indiana, trusty family station wagon, and the SantaLand Slide that Ralphie and Randy slid down after seeing Higbee’s Department Store Santa Claus.

While humorous in tone, the Lockton report reflects a real look at the myriad risks associated with the holiday season. Producers would do well to anticipate these risks, and perhaps extend a friendly word of warning to clients, said Alex Walker, claims relationship director at RSA Insurance.

“Brokers should aim to reach their clients as soon as they begin thinking about the holiday season,” Walker said. “December is an ideal time to broach the subject and to get the conversation started so that people can plan adequately for the weeks ahead.”

“Given the hectic time of year, safety tips should be presented as clearly and concisely as possible in a format that can be a quick reference for busy households,” he added.


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