Branson spaceship crash causes hefty losses

Virgin Galactic

A global insurer has been confirmed as the lead insurer on Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic spaceship, which spectacularly fell apart on a test flight last week, killing one pilot and severely injuring another.

It is understood AIG is the lead insurer on the spaceship, with some of the risk also placed with Lloyd’s, under an aviation hull and liability policy. Insured losses are predicted to total up to US$50 million.

Jardine Lloyd Thompson is Virgin Galactic’s broker, and a spokesman says they are providing every possible assistance in the tragic circumstances.

“Our thoughts are with the family and colleagues of the pilot who lost his life and for the injured pilot,” he says.

The spaceship, VSS Enterprise, crashed on Friday while undergoing testing using a new rocket fuel substance.

The company was founded for space tourism, and has tens of thousands of people on it waiting lists for the first suborbital flights.

Earlier this year, Branson said they hoped to take the first commercial flights in February or March of next year.