Santa’s transformation

A lesson in life insurance coverage.

How being denied for life insurance led to a fitter and healthier Santa.

You gotta hand it to Santa. Despite all that extra weight he carries around, he’s managed to live nearly 1,800 years.

But Santa wasn’t always so plump. Back in 16th century Europe, whether he was visiting children in the Netherlands under the moniker Sinterklaas or spreading merriment to people of England as Father Christmas, he was much more slender.

It probably had something to do with the European diet because as soon as Santa expanded his operations into North America, his weight (and waistline) ballooned.

So, how much longer before his excessive weight catches up with him?

Santa deemed 'reckless' by life insurer

It’s not a question any of us would like to ponder, but it is something insurance provider TAL had to consider this year when Santa tried to apply for life insurance.

TAL’s verdict? DENIED.

Santa has some major lifestyle changes to make if he wants to get coverage.


Recommendations from TAL

Santa has some major lifestyle changes to make if he wants to get coverage. Let’s look at each lifestyle factor in detail and what needs to be done to get cover

Santa now: There’s a reason why Santa is always jolly and rosy cheeked! A diet of milk and cookies plus his regular nightcap of Christmas schnapps and eggnog means his body mass index (BMI) is probably higher than 40.

Where Santa needs to be: If he wants to be insured, Santa will need to reduce his BMI through a balanced diet (more fruits and vegetables and less drinking) and regular exercise.

Santa now: Delivering presents to the whole world is a pretty risky job! Travelling at night on a reindeer-driven sleigh without a seatbelt definitely has its hazards.

Where Santa needs to be: No one wants Santa to limit his travel trips, so Santa needs to install a seatbelt in his sleigh to make his trips safer. He should also consider an ergonomically designed sleigh.

Santa now: All that travelling means a whole lot of time spent sitting down. With Santa’s sturdy size and diet, he may be prone to deep vein thrombosis.

Where Santa needs to be: One thing Santa could do to improve his health is to ensure he gets regular physical exercise, like doing a few yoga stretches between each delivery. Quitting smoking will also reduce his premium by next Christmas.

Santa now: Because Santa doesn’t see a lot of sun in Lapland, he may be deficient in vitamin D. This could have other knock-on health effects to consider.

Where Santa needs to be: While vitamin D may be scarce, Santa can offset this by doing more outdoor activity, like walking to collect firewood. He may also want to consider a vitamin D supplement, which is available at any chemist.

What’s next for Santa?

TAL thinks Santa may have taken the hint and has already started to incorporate some of these recommended lifestyle changes. Let’s fast-forward one year and have a look at what we can expect from the newly insurable Santa.

It’s just before Christmas 2018, and Santa would be unrecognisable if it weren’t for the rosy cheeks and jolly smile. Through a balanced diet and a regular CrossFit routine, Santa has brought his BMI down from 40 to 20 making him eligible for a discount on his cover. He’s not about to backslide either. He recently sent a notice to all children to leave out hummus instead of cookies and a kale shake instead of eggnog.

He’s also sporting a tan, having apparently squeezed out every drop of vitamin D from the arctic sun.

Santa has also achieved a good work-life balance. Taking a page from Amazon, Santa has built special distribution centres, staffed by elves, in every major population centre around the world. He places the orders online before he leaves the North Pole, and the elves deliver the presents to every house prior to Santa’s arrival.

To keep it personal, Santa and the reindeer continue to visit each house (in a newly retrofitted sleigh) where Santa meets the elves, collects the gifts and places the gifts lovingly under the tree. To avoid arrest, Santa enters the house by swiping a special QR code he organised with each parent in advance.

This new logistical model allows Santa to avoid back injury associated with carrying such a large sack of toys wherever he goes. It also allows him to finish his work much faster, meaning he doesn’t have to sit in the same position for so long.

Santa is now the proud policyholder of a comprehensive life insurance, income protection and business insurance policy. But more importantly, Santa is fitter than he has ever been, meaning he is likely to be spreading goodwill for at least another 1,800 years.

Brad Buzzard

Brad is an insurance writer whose background in analytics makes him the perfect person to research, analyse and interpret the complex world of insurance. When not writing, you can find Brad in the nearest yoga studio.

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