In the saddest development in the World Cup since Luis Suarez's ban, China has officially cancelled the best insurance policy we've ever seen — World Cup heartbreak insurance. Despite China not being a contender for the title, its citizens are still avid followers of the games, and An Cheng Insurance decided to capitalize on the sport's popularity. In a brilliant business move, the company offered to actually pay fans if their favorite teams were knocked out.
But now, the fun is all over, and Chinese fans will have to go back to lamenting Spain's defeat without a payout like the rest of us. On Thursday, China's Insurance Regulatory Commission declared a ban on insurance policies related to gambling, which unfortunately, includes World Cup betting. Here's how the policy worked during its short lifespan:
1. Pick your favorite team.
2. Buy Heartbreak insurance to cover team.
3. If team loses, you get paid.
Sounds like the perfect set-up to us! For the tiny price of 8 yuan, or $1.30, fans were given the opportunity to purchase protection against an early defeat, thereby softening the blow of a team's disappointing performance. Those who were rooting for Spain and purchased the insurance actually made 10 yuan off the deal, as they were paid 18 yuan following Spain's untimely exit.
Of course, policy holders didn't exactly receive free money as compensation. Rather, the payout was given in the form of credit to online store Taobao, an e-commerce site held by Alibaba. After all, what's better than a little retail therapy to soothe your World Cup heartbreak? The ploy was also initially meant to evade the imagery of gambling, but unfortunately, the regulatory commission saw right through this thinly-veiled scheme.
While almost all the major players in the World Cup were covered by the insurance policy, one country was conspicuously missing: England fans were out of luck when it came to purchasing heartbreak insurance, with An Cheng's logic being that England was prone to disappointing finishes. Also, no one thought they would win anyway.
The company's original intention for offering up the policies, other than solidifying their status as the best insurance firm ever, was to attract young people to buy more of their more legitimate insurance policies. Zhang Yi, a product manager at the company, told the Wall Street Journal, “This World Cup Heartbreak Insurance is for young people. They are the main audience for the World Cup. Our target is to attract their attention and to buy more of our products.”
And they certainly attracted attention, even if only for a little while.
An Cheng's heartbreak insurance may be no more, but other companies, particularly Shanghai-based Zhong An Insurance, are still offering a myriad of World Cup related policies. These have escaped governmental wrath because they technically still fall under personal or medical insurance, even though they depend upon the gambling industry that is China's World Cup. Here are a few of our favorites World Cup insurance policies, presented by Zhong An Insurance.
Soccer Hooligan Insurance
For a mere 3 yuan, you can buy soccer hooligan insurance, which will cover up to 10,000 yuan of medical expenses should you happen to find yourself in a fight with a fan of an opposing country. Be warned, though, if you start the fight, all bets are off, and you're on your own.
Night Owl Insurance
With the time difference, Chinese fans are often required to either awake at the crack of dawn or stay up until the wee hours of the morning in order to watch their favorite teams duke it out on the pitch. And if these late night shenanigans cause you to catch a cold, fear not! Night owl insurance has you covered.
Uhh, sign us up pronto please! This phenomenal 3 yuan policy protects you a sudden onset of an upset stomach following a night of heavy eating, which you simply must do when watching a World Cup match. As explained by Zhong An's website, “Within the insurance period, if the person is diagnosed with acute gastroenteritis and dies, the insurer will pay ….basic medical expenses.”
These medical expenses can be worth up to 2,000 yuan, and a supplemental 200 yuan will be provided for emergency expenses. In the unlikely (and unfortunate) case of death by food, Zhong An will pay 10,000 yuan.
This policy has been Zhong An's most popular, as it covers individuals aged 18 to 65 for up to 30 days. According to the company, more than 1,600 policies have been issued so far.
Another excellent option that is almost identical to Foodie Insurance, only this one covers alcohol-induced ailments. Similarly, for 3 yuan, policy holders receive 2,000 yuan's worth of medical care, and 200 yuan to cover emergency expenses.
Seriously, where are our World Cup policy insurances?