This really goes against the grain (writing about Christmas in November),
but it was suggested I look at the trials and tribulations of being Father Christmas, from a risk and insurance perspective. As this is last article of 2015, here goes…
Making and then transporting goods around the world is hardly unusual, as it shares many of the risks faced by conventional business that can be covered by the usual range of insurances. It is the timescale and method of delivery (and secrecy) that not only sets his ‘business’ apart, but presents risks of a somewhat hazardous and obscure nature.
Falling off an icy roof is an obvious risk, as is falling down a chimney, but add in a fire at the bottom and something akin to specialist circus act insurance would be needed. Providing liability cover for frozen flying reindeer droppings would also be interesting, although over the years claims have been recorded for similar material falling from aircraft.
With lookalikes in every department store, he seems to have a major problem with identity theft, although as he appears to have done little to protect his brand and image rights, perhaps it is too late for intellectual property and copyright insurances.
So far he hasn’t been fazed by new technology and has overcome improved security systems and chimneys made redundant by modern heating methods. The predicted influx of drone use may be a bigger threat, not just the risk of collision, but perhaps the likes of Amazon becoming direct competitors (cutting out the ‘middle man’) and doing the deliveries with a fleet of drones. And if 3D printers really take off, he could either find himself out of job or alternatively, he could embrace the new technology himself and make his life a lot easier.
Christianity may be on the wane in the UK, but his popularity seems to increase year on year, having seen off Easter and the ‘Bunny’, his merchandise is still in the shops well before that annoying American export, Halloween, comes along. But are bigger threats lurking?
Government or councils banning Christmas is hardly inconceivable, such is the fear of upsetting other religions, although those in favour of the ‘nanny state’ may wish to harness his influence and power over the young. However, others in the establishment may see Father Christmas as a politically incorrect relic from the past with too many stereotypical flaws. A secretive character of no fixed address, trespasser, white, male, likes a drink (when sleighing) and must speed. He keeps Mrs Christmas very much in the background and given his size does not seem to support the Government’s latest healthy eating initiatives. Then there is the apparent disregard for animal rights, employment law (particularly the working time directive) and elf and safety (sorry, it had to be done).
On the plus side, beards do seem to be in vogue and they will like the fact that he is old, but he is not exactly inclusive by only supplying the young. Then there is the discrimination against the naughty and perhaps a concern about his habit of encouraging kids to sit on his knee.
And if our Government don’t get him, there is always the possibility of an EU dictate to standardise the delivery of Christmas presents to tie in with many other European countries. St Nicholas Day on December 6th is a good bet, with no worries if it makes his life a logistical nightmare.
Whatever the future brings, he obviously lives a charmed life and for once perhaps there is someone that doesn’t need insurance?