The Griswolds’ Christmas Vacation could have been saved

Could the Griswold family’s 1989 Christmas been saved? One insurer has taken an in-depth analysis on just what coverages could have helped sort out the mess.

The Griswolds’ Christmas Vacation could have been saved

Risk Management News


Perhaps no one has shed more blood, spent more money or sacrificed more home appliances in the pursuit of the perfect family Christmas as Clark W. Griswold, Jr. However, when the Griswold family patriarch’s actions slide into a full-blown, four-alarm holiday emergency — complete with kidnapping and SWAT teams — Ellen, Audrey and Russ may be left relying on some critical insurance coverages to help sort out the mess.

With the goal of helping the Griswolds have the hap, hap, happiest Christmas ever, employees of Lockton Associates took to analyzing the risks in 1989’s “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.”

Here are some of their findings:

Transporting a “little full, lot of sap” Christmas tree
Clark’s pride and joy, the Griswold family Christmas tree, was certainly a concern in transit—especially as he forgot his trusty saw.

Lockton underwriters, styling themselves elves for this white paper, believe an inland marine cargo policy would be just the thing.

“Clark should pay to have someone transport the tree, given its size,” they write. “After all, the tree isn’t going in the yard; it’s going in the living room.”

Uncle Lewis and his stogie-lighting slapstick
Unfortunately, the “most beautiful tree in the world” was not long for this Earth, as old Uncle Lewis decided to light up a cigar following Christmas Eve dinner.

The tree immediately erupted into flames (a result of Cousin Eddie’s dog, Snots, drinking all the water) and the symbol of Christmas became a sad, charred pile of ornaments and branches. Some of the family presents were also damaged.

Property coverage, however, would pay out for their personal property, including the tree, gifts and ornaments.

Pollution from “that there” RV
Despite the illegality of his actions, simple-minded Cousin Eddie had no issue dumping some of his family’s toxic sludge from the toilet into the sewers outside the Griswold home. (continued.)

While it may be a pollutant, however, Lockton elves find that there is no coverage for this intentional act.

“However, if his waste would have accidentally leaked all over the highway on his drive to the Griswolds’ home, a pollution policy would provide coverage,” they say.

The sudden appearance of a squirrel from the new Griswold family Christmas tree caused Snots to crash into the china display case in pursuit of the furry varmint — all that was left were a few broken pieces lying sadly on the floor.

If Clark purchased an inland marine — fine arts policy, perhaps their china collection could be replaced.

Drum roll for the Christmas lights
Clark’s epic holiday light display did more than cause the city of Chicago to run on reserve power — it also took out the window and stereo of uppity neighbors Todd and Margo when Clark set a javelin of frozen water flying from the gutter.

Lockton identifies the general liability policy as the applicable coverage here.

“General liability coverage will protect Clark from having to pay property claims for damage,” the elves write. “With the money he saved, he’ll be able to help Cousin Eddie provide presents for his kids this year.
“We would recommend a strong fungal cream for Rocky’s lip.”

Slandering a tightwad boss
It’s hard to handle the disappointment that attends learning your Christmas bonus is nothing more than a one-year membership to the Jelly of the Month club—especially when you’re planning on putting in a pool.

But Clark’s rage-fueled rant against his boss (“low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, ignorant”), Frank Shirley, certainly falls into the slander category.

Fortunately, it would be covered through coverage B, personal and advertising injury, of the general liability policy, says Lockton.

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