June 6, 2013

It’s amazing the lengths some people will go to in attempting to flog you some home insurance.

Leading Swiss insurance giant Zurg, for example, have just commissioned a survey of 2,000 people asking them what old toys they have in their attics and then paid a fancy PR firm to put out a press release revealing exactly who has what in the way of Barbies, Action Men and Care Bears etc – and why they need to buy more insurance to reflect this.

The fancy PR firm reveals inscrutably that there is a “sleuth” of Care Bears in Britain’s attics “which could fill Sherwood Forest 3,000 times”. What on earth can this mean? Their press release also suggests that the UK has “an army of Action Men the size of China’s armed forces” and, we think, that a quarter of the UK’s population are loft-based Barbie Dolls.

“Some of our most cherished items are kept are in the attic,” Zurg home insurance expert Phil Ost reveals in the press release. The danger is, he worries: we may forget we have all this hideous old crap – and hence fail to buy enough insurance. “Items in your loft may be out of sight,” he allows, “but they shouldn’t be out of mind”.

Having some insurance might be a good idea, Zurg’s press release suggests, if, for example, a pipe bursts in your loft. Pipes, however, may not be the only threat to your loft-based toy trove. Ost is particularly worried about “mildew, woodworm and silverfish”, for all of which a damp loft would constitute the ideal “breeding ground” and this “could damage your keepsakes and devalue your possessions”.

Whether Zurg’s policies include a “mildew, woodworm and silverfish” exclusion is not made specific – but the 22% of survey respondents who told Zurg’s researchers that they “never go into their loft to clean or maintain it” may come to appreciate the folly of such a lax attitude towards risk management should they ever need to make a claim on their (probably inadequate) home contents policy.

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