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Company Donating Life Insurance To Five Shuttle Crew Members

August 29, 1988

NEW YORK (AP) _ The company that donated a $1 million life insurance policy to Christa McAuliffe before the Challenger explosion is contributing half-million-dollar policies to the five crew members of the space shuttle Discovery, it said Monday.

Corroon & Black Corp., an insurance broker, said it was donating the coverage to show ″our appreciation of the astronauts and the contribution they are making to the space program and to our country.″

The company declined to say how much it was paying in premiums for the insurance, totaling $2.5 million, which was arranged through Lloyd’s of London.

The Discovery is scheduled for launch in late September or early October and will be the first shuttle mission since the Challenger, which exploded Jan. 28, 1986, killing all seven crew members including Ms. McAuliffe.

Corroon & Black had donated the insurance to Ms. McAuliffe, of Concord, N.H., in recognition of her role as the first teacher in space. The money went to her family. It also donated insurance to the crew of one of the 24 earlier missions, in 1985.

″We set a precedent. ... There is some public relations advantage, but it is not the prime motivation. It’s to show we’re here,″ said Brian Stockwell, president of Corroon & Black Inspace Inc., a Bethesda, Md.-based subsidiary of the New York-based broker.

All five crew members of the Discovery are NASA employees: Navy Capt. Rick Hauck, the commander; Air Force Col. Richard Covey, the pilot; and George Nelson, Marine Lt. Col. Dave Hilmers, and Navy Lt. Col. Mike Lounge, all mission specialists. Nelson is the only one without a military rank.

The government traditionally declines comment on the personal insurance coverage of its astronauts, citing privacy considerations. All the Discovery astronauts are eligible for Federal Employee Group Life Insurance. The basic plan provides a benefit equal to the participant’s annual salary, plus $2,000.

Corroon & Black, with $392 million in revenue last year, is one of the world’s biggest insurance brokers. Its Inspace subsidiary, established in 1979, says it has arranged spacecraft launch insurance totaling more than $2 billion, covering more than 30 percent of the insured spacecraft launched in the world to date.

Corroon & Black is not arranging insurance the launch itself because the federal government is self-insured. The company’s main space-related business is insuring launch vehicle providers, spacecraft owners and cargo owners on non-manned flights.

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