LONDON — The company that insured the 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult against abduction by aliens said it stopped writing alien-related policies after the group's mass suicide.
The cult members paid $1,000 on Oct. 10 for a policy that covered up to 50 members and would pay out $1 million a person for abduction, impregnation or death caused by aliens.
"Because of the manipulation of malevolent third parties, innocent lives were wrecked," Simon Burgess, managing director of the Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson insurance company, said Wednesday. "I am deeply shocked and saddened, and that's why we're withdrawing from the [alien abduction insurance] market. . . . We don't wish to contribute to a repetition of the Heaven's Gate deaths."
He said the group discovered his company provided alien abduction insurance via the Internet.
The 39 members took their own lives last week at a home in Rancho Santa Fe, seeking redemption in a spaceship they believed was trailing Comet Hale-Bopp.
The beneficiary of the policy was the Society of Heaven's Gate, said Burgess.
He said the cult had paid the premium and the annual policy remains in force until Oct. 9. "They would have to prove that they were abducted," he added.