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Tick, Tick, Boom: Insuring the Most Explosive Jobs

He thought to himself why on earth they’d even spend the millions to research and develop a robot that did this when he still had to sometimes. They could have given him a raise instead. Tick, tick, tick. Dozens or hundreds of lives depend on the decision our hero makes under pressure. Tick, tick, tick.

The deafening silence of a terminally tense atmosphere echoes through his mind like a freight train in the desert night. He pauses briefly to mop stress from his forehead with the back of his tactical glove as he stares intently at the deadly device before him and the timer coldly counting down to his demise. You can find out more at

30 seconds. He knows that his life could come to a violent end in mere moments, but can only think of his loving wife and 3 beautiful children at home eating dinner and awaiting his timely arrival in vain yet again. 15 seconds. He briefly laments not becoming a sketch artist instead for their sake, but the rapidly evaporating time frame affords him little time to reconsider his life choices. 10 seconds. He still finds himself less than totally sure which snip leads to salvation and which cancels Christmas for him permanently. Red wire or green wire? One second.

Let’s pause time to look at the life of our hero. A member of the regional bomb squad, he is called upon in the most volatile situations imaginable to use his very particular set of skills to save lives and property on what is often a massive scale. When he succeeds, his rich reward is a beer with the rest of the unit and the smiling faces of his family. If he ever fails, it will be the first and last time. In such a high-stakes profession, the reality is that he must ensure his family’s security in the event that he ever does.

Luckily, it is possible for even a member of the bomb squad to get comprehensive coverage. Although diffusing bombs is obviously a dangerous job, insurance companies look at the official occupational statistics as opposed to the actual perceived element of danger when evaluating potential policyholders. Although any job with the word “bomb” in the title is pretty dangerous, others such as commercial fishing, construction and logging have even higher fatality rates, and workers in those industries are frequently able to obtain insurance.

Insurers also consider their own experiences with members of a profession, so companies who have long relationships with bomb squad members will have lower rates. Others who have a history of less buck relative to bang will raise their premiums accordingly.

The tradeoff comes with the premium a person in such a dangerous field will have to pay to get viable life insurance. Insurance is a business, and providers want to be sure that the amount they may have to pay out to a policy holder or his beneficiaries is equal to or less than the total in premiums they will collect. The chances are fairly high that a given member of the bomb squad will have a bad day at the office and trigger a payout, and if this happens within a few months of establishing a policy, the insurance company loses money.

Providers evaluate each potential policy holder as an investment, and will seek to even the odds on a shaky investment by increasing the amount they collect upfront. Although it may be expensive, our hero can indeed get the protection he wants for his family in the case of a failed mission. Some agencies even offer group insurance to lower the cost of a policy to each member. It’s good news in an occupation where there are only two kinds and one is deadly.

We return to our specialist as he tentatively makes the decisive cut, holding his breath as if not to breathe in the sense of dread in the air. An almost inaudible snip, then silence. Half a second passes as he wonders if this silence is that which comes with eternal sleep.

He heaves a heavy sigh as he realizes he is still alive and flashes the all clear signal to the rest of his unit. The sounds of their jubilance fall on his deaf ears as a deep sense of relief washes over his body. His experience and skill were good enough to keep his family at work safe today, and his insurance policy will keep his family at home safe should they only be almost good enough tomorrow.

The above was a guest post.




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