The insurer that gave a free $1-million policy to schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe before she boarded the ill-fated Challenger space shuttle predicted Wednesday that coverage for those involved in space flights will remain available despite the deaths Tuesday of McAuliffe and her six crew mates.
In fact, spokeswoman Gail Granato of Corroon & Black Inflight, the Washington firm that presented the policy to McAuliffe as a good-will gesture, said that similar policies underwritten at Lloyd's of London could have been taken out by any crew member. None had applied.
"I'm sure that Lloyd's will continue to offer coverage," she said.
Astronauts--or anyone in a high-risk profession--must pay a higher premium for life insurance coverage than other persons of similar age and health. However, once insured, policyholders cannot lose their life insurance as long as they continue paying the premiums, regardless of changes to a more hazardous occupation or hobby, according to the Life Insurance Council of America.
But, even before Tuesday's tragedy, astronaut duty was considered hazardous.
"There have been astronauts killed in training on the ground," Ed Murphy of Metropolitan Life noted. "Many hazards occur in training these crews."