Intelsat I, the first satellite that was insured
Intelsat I, the first satellite that was insured

Job Profile

Insurer

Launching rockets into space is risky and expensive, as a space insurer you would be providing cover for spacecraft and satellites in case something was to go wrong, covering space vehicles throughout their life.


It has been said that the annual launch frequency is not limited by the production of rockets, but by how much risk the insurance companies can afford to shoulder. Space insurance is vital to any mission and is required before any rocket can launch. 

Insurance is provided to cover:

  • Relaunching the space vehicle if it fails to launch,
  • Replaying it if it is destroyed, incorrectly positioned in orbit or falls out of orbit,
  • Liability for damage to third parties caused by the space vehicle,
  • Complete or partial loss the spacecraft during its lifetime.

The first satellite that was insured was the ‘Early Bird’ satellite Intelsat I, the first commercial communications satellite, to cover any physical damages during pre-launch.

What will you be doing?

Working within space insurance can be very exciting, often providing you with the opportunity to visit the facilities in which the space vehicle is being built but also the potential to attend launches. Space insurers will consider many technical elements of a spacecraft and its launch vehicle to determine the correct cost of insurance, based on many things such as the reliability of the spacecraft and its launch vehicle, as well as the financial risks involved with the mission.

What skills are needed?

  • The ability to work with a multidisciplinary team to combine technical knowledge with insurance and finance; 
  • Customer service skills as much of the work will interface with the client;
  • Basic mathematical and analytical skills in order to analyse data about the spacecraft and its mission, as well as insurance data;
  • Communication and negotiation skills;
  • IT skills.

Qualifications and Routes into Space Insurance

To work as as an insurer in the space industry it is not necessary that you studied a scientific or mathematical degree, however the mathematical and problem solving skills acquired from these subjects would be advantageous. You could also pursue a degree in accounting or business which would give you the skills required to be an insurer. To become a chartered accountant you would need to complete a series of exams such as the ACA or SEMA. You could also enter this profession through an apprenticeship, learning the the skills specific to the job while working within a company. It may be possible to become a space insurer later in your career if you have experience in either insurance or spacecraft engineering/technology. A demonstrable knowledge of the space industry, and the space launch market in particular, would be advantageous. 

Where can I get some more information?

Reuters article on the effect of space debris on insurance

Insurance Business Mag: Satellite Insurance - A Brief Introductory Guide

APSCC Webinar: Space Insurance & Risk Management

Similar Job Titles

  • Business Analyst
  • Policy Maker
  • Space Lawyer

Author

Emma Collier

Emma studies Physics with Astronomy at the University of Southampton.

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