Lloyd’s Speculates on Famous Groundhog Coverage

February 3, 2006

As he has done for many years, Pennsylvania’s famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, dutifully honored his Groundhog Day commitments by emerging from his borrow in Gobbler’s Knob Pa. on schedule. Phil reportedly saw his shadow, and thus indicated that the Eastern U.S., according to Phil anyway, is due for six more weeks of winter weather.

Over the years Phil’s appearance has grown from an isolated event to a well attended five-day festival, which raised the question from the good folks across the pond at Lloyd’s as to how one should go about covering such an event.

A bulletin on the Lloyd’s Website (www.lloyd’s.com) notes that if the London market were “were approached by the organizers of the Groundhog celebrations to insure this event, there would be a number of factors to take into consideration.”

Christian Phillips, an underwriter at Beazley explained: “If we were asked to insure something as important to US culture as Groundhog Day, we would need to ask a number of questions. Insurance coverage would basically fall into two categories – the event being cancelled, or Punxsutawney Phil simply not showing up due to death, accident or illness.

“To cover the latter possibility, we would need to know exactly what could stop Phil from appearing. We would probably need him to undergo a thorough medical exam to figure out if there is any chance that he wouldn’t wake up at the right time, if at all. We would also need to be absolutely clear about how old he is.”

He added: “If the organizers wanted to insure against the event being cancelled, we would need to agree what exactly could cause this. Extremely bad weather? Terrorism? All these details would need to be thoroughly worked out.”

All of which proves that Groundhog Day just isn’t what it used to be.

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