Chinese consumers worried about not seeing the moon during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival can rest easy knowing they can purchase insurance that will pay them double their investment should inclement weather obscure the moon and sour their celebrations.
The Mid-Autumn Festival, which falls on Sept. 19 this year, is one of Greater China’s biggest holidays and features a lantern festival, the exchange of mooncakes and dining with family and friends while gazing at the harvest moon.
To ensure the holiday is an auspicious one this year, residents of three cities—Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen—can buy insurance online for 20 yuan (about $3) and be compensated for up to 50 yuan if clouds obscure moon-viewing between 8 p.m. and 12 a.m. on Sept. 19.
Offered by Alibaba Small and Micro Financial Services Co. and Allianz Insurance China, the insurance will also be available in 41 other cities, including Beijing, but participants will have to pay more. Premiums are 99 yuan under a plan that pays out 188 yuan if the moon is a no-show.
Full-moon insurance may sound a bit looney, but the plan will help promote an online insurance platform on Taobao Marketplace, a vast online shopping website operated by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group.
“Full moon insurance represents a type of protection for the quality of life,” said Jiang Xing, general manager of Taobao Insurance. “It will bring peace of mind to everyone looking to celebrate the Mid Autumn Festival together and eliminate regret if they can’t see the moon.”
Since launching in 2010, the Taobao Marketplace insurance portal has generated more than RMB 1 billion worth of travel, auto and health policies issued by more than 22 insurance companies. Average daily transactions total more than RMB 2 million, according to Taobao.
“The Taobao insurance platform has two roles,” Jiang said in a Chinese press release that was translated into English. “One role is that of a platform for insurance companies to open stores and sell personal insurance products to meet the needs of Internet citizens. But there is another more important role and that is to be a conduit between the Internet and the insurance companies companies so as to drive forward the companies’ innovation.”
Before offering full-moon policies, Allianz Insurance China analyzed nearly 20 years of meteorological data to establish a risk model. Those who buy the product are also covered for up to RMB 100,000 in personal accident insurance—but for Sept. 19 only.
Buyers looking to play the odds should note that the insurance policy doesn’t cover low lunar visibility due to fog or haze, byproducts of China’s pervasive air pollution. The policy is on sale only from Aug. 26- Aug. 31, before accurate meteorological predictions are available. Insurance payouts will be decided using official weather reports for the participating cities.