Shark Week is coming.

We know it. We love it. We wait to be awed and amazed.

But what does Shark Week have to do with insurance? Well, more than you might think. And since Esurance is sponsoring Shark Week this year (starting Sunday June 26 at 8/7c on Discovery), we thought we’d take a moment to connect the dots between these ancient creatures of the deep and the modern world of insurance.

Here are the top 3 things (in fact, the only 3 things) to know about the relationship between sharks and insurance.

1. Insurance began in shark-infested waters.

It’s true. As you probably already know from reading this blog post, insurance was born in 3,000 BC in ancient China.

“Early Chinese merchants relied on sailors to navigate dangerous and unpredictable waters* with their precious cargo, but shipwrecks were still common.

So one day, these ancient entrepreneurs gathered near the town square, cooked spaghetti (probably not), and strategized ways to reduce each individual’s shipping risks.

The solution, like so many other society-transforming ideas, was simple. By evenly distributing each merchant’s goods to all of the ships, they could safely reduce their individual levels of risk. It was agreed and from then on, a shipwreck became a collective downer rather than an individual catastrophe, a tenet of insurance even today.”

*And guess what was lurking in these dangerous and unpredictable waters? That’s right. SHARKS. In fact, there are about 110 shark species found in the waters that make up China’s seas. And so we learn that sharks and insurance are unequivocally (though very loosely) linked from the get-go. Fact.

2. Shark insurance is actually a thing.

Earlier this year, Carriers Insurance Brokers in Mona Vale, New South Wales (a Sydney suburb), began offering insurance against shark attacks.

According to Insurance Business Online, shark insurance — an industry first in Australia — is targeted at surfers and covers a range of circumstances that lead to injury or death. If you’ve ever watched even a single episode of Shark Week, it’s easy to imagine what that “range of circumstances” might entail.

Additionally, Irish and UK residents planning their own shark weeks can purchase something called “shark cage diving insurance” from a sport insurance specialist located in High Wycombe, England.

3. Sharks are the best at selling insurance.

In spite of our fascination and fear, sharks are not the scariest creatures out there. In fact, most of the world’s deadliest animals are a lot less intimidating at a glance. Pufferfish? Snails?? Ants???

Or consider the roly-poly hippopotamus. In spite of our tendency to see these lumbering beasts as docile, they’re actually responsible for an average of 2,900 human fatalities a year. That’s nearly 500 times the number caused by sharks which averages less than 6 per year. But a cursory search of the interwebs provides no results for “hippo insurance.” Imagine that.

You can discover more about the fascinating history of insurance in the BC edition here and AD edition here.


Here at Esurance, we can’t protect you against a shark attack. (Aside from offering you the advice to avoid swimming in shark-infested waters.) We can, however, offer protection against a gamut of other less toothy perils.

But this is a post about sharks. Well, sharks AND insurance, but we know you came for the sharks. So we won’t try to sell you on our reliable and wallet-friendly auto and home insurance. Instead, we’ll leave you with this reminder: be sure to catch Shark Week on Discovery starting Sunday June 26 at 8/7c.


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about Heidi

Heidi brings 11 years’ experience to her role as Esurance’s copywriting manager. Writer, editor, and all around wordsy, she was content when content wasn’t cool. Also, she likes old-school country.