Berkshire Hathaway Insures $1 Billion Prize for Predicting NCAA Winners

By Noah Buhayar and Zachary Tracer | January 21, 2014
Jamil Wilson, Mikael Hopkins, Aaron Bowen

  • January 21, 2014 at 2:32 pm
    Dave says:
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    Looks like gambling to me. Is this legal? A very safe bet as nobody has ever picked all the winners in every tournament since they started. But looks illegal.

  • January 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm
    dbroker says:
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    No entry fee to fill out a bracket = Legal

  • January 21, 2014 at 5:14 pm
    Hiward Candage says:
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    One of the fundamentals of insurance protection is that the exposure must be totally fortuitous. This is not a fortuitous exposure. The exposure is created in the interest of the insurer making a profit.

    No entry fee may be legal, but the there is a big difference in my mind between legal and ethical.

    • January 21, 2014 at 11:51 pm
      okt0ber says:
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      It’s the same thing as hole in one insurance. Quicken Loans created the contest, Berkshire is just insuring the prize. What’s so unethical about that? All insurance is created to make a profit. It’s a for profit business for the most part.

      • January 22, 2014 at 8:16 am
        Dave says:
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        A hole in one is a fortuitous event based mostly on luck. Betting on who would win the golf tournament is a better analogy and that would be gambling. I guess somebody getting all of the picks correct could also be considered a fortuitous event as it’s never been done, but each individual game in the tournament would be considered gambling. I wonder how much premium Quicken pays for the “insurance”.

    • January 23, 2014 at 12:57 pm
      InsGuy says:
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      So how is this different than Hole-In-One Coverage? Same concept, just better odds.

  • January 21, 2014 at 7:02 pm
    contingency says:
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    I think it’s not about the fortuitousness of insured event, its about existence of insurable interest.(no one knows who wins each and every match) I guess it depends on the structure of the payment scheme if it’s illegal or not, problem most of the sports specialty insurance faces.
    Thing is they’re making its probability of payment near 0. Good for them.

  • January 23, 2014 at 10:42 am
    uct says:
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    http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports/Autistic-Teen-Picks-First-Two-NCAA-Rounds-Perfectly-88916437.html

    This has been done once. It was by an autistic 17 year old. It was confirmed. There are also reports of one other person filling out a perfect NCAA bracket, an elderly lady who loves college basketball, but no one could verify her bracket had been completed before the first round of the games. It was turned into a contest, but not accepted as it was after the start of the first game.

    With a billion dollar prize, you would assume the number of bracket entries will go up exponentially. While the odds are similar to winning the Powerball, there is always a chance someone will get lucky. It’s free, so why not give it a shot?

    • January 23, 2014 at 12:10 pm
      Libby says:
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      I’m sending mine in!

  • January 23, 2014 at 1:14 pm
    InsGuy says:
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    UCT – Did you actually read that artile you linked?

    It wasn’t a perfect bracket, only perfect through 2 rounds. He actually picked Purdue to win. Assuming the 3/29/10 article relates to the 2010 bracket, didn’t Duke win that year? Purdue didn’t even make it to the championship game.

    Also, the article says that CBSSports.com (who he turned his in to) doesn’t verify their entries. So how is that confirmed? You think you would get the $1B prize under those circumstances?

    “Hey Warren, may Mom can witness that I filled out my bracket before the tourney started.” good luck with that.

    :) good luck with your entry! Hope someone wins, even if its not me.



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