Yahsat buys Islamic insurance for satellites
Startup satellite fleet operator Yahsat of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, has secured what its insurers say is the first space-insurance policy meeting financing conditions established in Islamic law for a portion of its two-satellite insurance package valued at up to $1.15 billion, Yahsat and its insurers announced April 7.
The broad lines of the policy covering the launch and first year in orbit of the two Yahsat satellites, to be launched separately in 2011, had already been organized by Yahsat under conventional commercial-insurance terms. That policy provides for about $450 million in coverage for Yahsat 1A, and the same amount for Yahsat 1B. But if both satellites fail at launch, the claim for the second satellite will rise to around $700 million under the policy’s terms, insurance officials have said.
These conditions included a review of Yahsat, its satellites and their proposed use by a Shariah supervisory board to verify that the policy did not violate Islamic law precepts including prohibitions against price gouging.
Another aspect of the Shariah-compliant portion of the insurance package backed by Methaq is what is sometimes called a no-claim bonus, wherein Yahsat will be refunded a portion of its insurance premium paid to Methaq if it makes no claims under the policy. “The Shariah moral principle of ‘I help you and you help me’ is what’s at the core of this,” said Pierre-Eric Lys, chairman of Elseco.