Peter Kawalski would just as soon die than speak about the product he pushed for years as part of an agreement with the owner of his former agency.
“I had to pitch it,” the 46-year-old tanned, well-groomed, Modesto, Calif.-man said. “Bob insisted. He was a visionary, but I just thought he was being a jerk at the time.”
He was referring to Bob Stamp, who started Brooks and Associates Inc., a small central California agency, in 1976. Stamp demanded that his agents offer clients zombie coverage every chance they got. A superstitious man, Stamp launched the initiative during a morning sales meeting on Oct. 10, 2010. Several employees accused him of being in deep to an executive of one of the agency’s carriers, Apocalyptic Events and Occurrences Inc., dba Mayan Prophecy Protection Co., dba Nostradamus Was Right Inc., dba Galactic Alignment Recovery.
Stamp, now retired and living out of the country, declined to be interviewed.
With Dec. 21, 2012, approaching and with it the twelfth hour for the predictions that hold that date as the end of the world, Kawalski has become the “go-to guy” for zombie insurance. He sells more than 10 policies a day and declines to speak to anyone who wants a policy under $1 million.
For his brisk business, he has to thank all those times he reluctantly but dutifully mentioned the zombie product to clients. Now they are giving him so many referrals that zombie insurance — or apocalyptic insurance as some inaccurately refer to it — is all that Kawalski now sells.
“It’s off the hook,” said Kawalski, who had a falling out with Stamp three months ago and took his book of business with him to start Kawalski & Co. “I got companies willing to lay down serious cash to get a policy in hand.”
Kawalski says demand for all types of EOW (end of world) protection products is growing. It’s not just businesses. Requests by personal lines customers are up, too, according to brokers.
“What happens if you’re entertaining guests and a zombie herd crashes through the front of your home?” asks Barbara Fenton, who sells homeowners’ insurance for ARG. “Is that covered in a standard policy? Are your guests protected? And what if they themselves turn into zombies and wreak havoc in the home you invited them, un-undead at the time, into?”
Now insurance executives and state commissioners are asking similar questions.
“We don’t see why a traditional homeowners’ policy should exclude damage caused by a zombie attack. We think damage would be covered as vandalism,” said one source who works for an insurance commissioner in a western state. “Or say a zombie jumping from a tree into your window could be covered as a falling object.”
Regulators are warning the public that zombie insurance isn’t guaranteed protection against an outright, world-wide zombie outbreak. Existing zombie programs will only cover isolated cases, before the “walkers” are done in by samurai sword-shotgun wielding citizenry, experts say. Most policies have a $10 million limit.