“Viasat Inc. has more than $1 billion of orbiting satellites in trouble,” reports Bloomberg, “and space insurers are girding for market-rattling claims.”

The company’s roughly $1 billion ViaSat-3 Americas satellite, central to expanding its fixed-broadband coverage and fending off rivals including Elon Musk’s Starlink, suffered an unexpected problem as it deployed its antenna in orbit in April. Should Viasat declare it a total loss, industry executives estimate the claim would reach a record-breaking $420 million and, in turn, make it harder — and more expensive — for other satellite operators to get insurance… Viasat on Aug. 24 reported another stricken spacecraft, saying its Inmarsat-6 F2 satellite launched in February suffered a power problem. The failure may end the craft’s useful life and result in a $350 million insurance claim, Space Intel Report said.

Viasat’s troubles in orbit come a few years after big-name insurers like American International Group Inc. and Allianz SE have shuttered their space portfolios. That’s left a smaller pool of providers to absorb the risks in the notoriously high-stakes $553 million market…

Following news of the Inmarsat-6 anomaly, Viasat and other industry participants “will likely experience significant challenges with obtaining insurance for future satellite launches,” [investment banking firm] William Blair’s Louie DiPalma said in an Aug. 25 note… In 2019, the total losses from satellite claims amounted to $788 million, which overwhelmed the total premiums for the year at $500 million, according to launch and satellite database Seradata. In the years that followed, big names like American International Group Inc., Swiss Re AG, and Allianz SE all closed the door on satellite insurance.

Earlier this month Viasat’s CEO says before deciding whether they’ll file a claim, “There’s no consequences to us taking another couple or three months to get good measurements and then making those decisions.”

Originally Posted at https://slashdot.org/