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Old 12-31-2018, 05:14 AM   #1
Dr. Beckenstein
 
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Default Insurance and Shipping?

Are there any rules how high insurance rates are for interstellar shipping?
And how much do you pay for the insurance of a free trader?

I can not find anything in GT - Far Trader.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:10 AM   #2
malloyd
 
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And how much do you pay for the insurance of a free trader?.
Sell your ship and become employees of the new owner?

Seriously I assume most adventurers can't get insurance - anybody who takes jobs risky enough they have more than one "adventure" per lifetime is simply not coverable. For that matter even if you avoid really risky jobs, insurance is mostly limited to stuff routine enough the insurers can calculate the risks. Sure if you fly the same route over and over you can probably get it, but the typical adventuring free trader doesn't hit the same ports regularly. Of course logically he shouldn't be able to get a bank loan on a business plan like that, and Traveller glosses over that too, so you can allow it if you wanted, but realistically people putting up money for something that isn't routine are shareholding investors, not "insurers" or "bankers". They'll want a cut, not a flat fee.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:43 AM   #3
thrash
 
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Default Re: Insurance and Shipping?

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Originally Posted by Dr. Beckenstein View Post
Are there any rules how high insurance rates are for interstellar shipping?
Insurance for freight is covered under Terms of Shipping (pp. 54-55), specifically Cost, Insurance, and Freight:

"... but the seller must pay for insurance (0.1% of the goods' value) ..."

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And how much do you pay for the insurance of a free trader?
Under Bank Financing (p. 98) it says:

"The mortgage payments include loss and liability coverage for the bank's interest, but the owners must arrange for insurance on their own."

Given the mortgage rates from CT (which are carried over into Far Trader directly) and the canonical 0% inflation rate, the bank's coverage works out to 2-3% of purchase price per year. This is comparable to historical shipping loss rates prior to the use of radio and aircraft for search and rescue.

Corporations and governments almost always self-insure. That is, they carry enough cash reserves to make up any losses out of pocket, rather than rely on third party coverage.

Realistically, it is unlikely that a lone free trader is going to qualify for insurance in the traditional sense for either ship or cargo. It is simply too hard to quantify the risks (and a lot of work for not a lot of fun from a gaming perspective). There is also the problem that insurance is essentially a bet on the part of the insurer that the insured will succeed -- which means they would need overwhelming evidence that a PC group is motivated to do more than fold and take the payout when things get tough.
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Old 12-31-2018, 02:26 PM   #4
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Default Re: Insurance and Shipping?

The ability of adventurers to be able to afford a starship is pretty much a lot of hand-wave for the sake of the game. Starships should (probably) cost way more; scaling the cost of an adventurer scale ship to an airliner or cruise ship of equal per-volume cost would be much more money.

The cost of a mortgage seems implausibly low for a movable asset; what does a yacht mortgage cost?

Insurance companies would probably refuse to cover anything but routine operations, along the lines of a subsidized merchant's contracted route; anything intentionally adventurous would lead to the insurer refusing to cover losses, and mortgage lenders foreclosing on grounds of violating the level of risk permitted on their at-risk funds.

On the other hand, maybe manufacturing is so inexpensive at starship technology levels that ships really are as affordable as they are. But that still wouldn't explain the cheap mortgages and mortgage insurance.
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Old 12-31-2018, 08:13 PM   #5
Fred Brackin
 
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The ability of adventurers to be able to afford a starship is pretty much a lot of hand-wave for the sake of the game. Starships should (probably) cost way more; scaling the cost of an adventurer scale ship to an airliner or cruise ship of equal per-volume cost would be much more money.

.
Traveller starships are all much bigger than airliners. That's one of the reasons they cost so much. Nither the Space Shuttle nor the Millenium Falocon are the least bit over SM+6. Yet a Beowulf or a Marava at SM+8 are 10x that big.

Perhaps you would say "But that doesn't match the art!". I can only shrug and say "It's the art that does not match the stats".
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Insurance and Shipping?

I had an idea somewhere in "Exotic government" that noble families could have their lineage insured. Much like race horses in fact.
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Old 12-31-2018, 09:49 PM   #7
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Traveller starships are all much bigger than airliners. That's one of the reasons they cost so much. Nither the Space Shuttle nor the Millenium Falocon are the least bit over SM+6. Yet a Beowulf or a Marava at SM+8 are 10x that big.

Perhaps you would say "But that doesn't match the art!". I can only shrug and say "It's the art that does not match the stats".
Art often does not pay attention to technical accuracy depending on fashion.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:29 AM   #8
malloyd
 
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I had an idea somewhere in "Exotic government" that noble families could have their lineage insured. Much like race horses in fact.
Who would the insurance pay out to? The racehorse case pays the owner, but if "nobles" have one there's something considerably more exotic about that society than the insurance policies. If your lineage goes extinct you are dead and have no living heirs, so who did you think deserved some extra money if that happened?
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Old 01-01-2019, 09:51 AM   #9
SteveS
 
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Traveller starships are all much bigger than airliners. That's one of the reasons they cost so much. . . .
What I was trying to say is that Traveller starships are much bigger, but that they could be used as a model for pricing by scaling for size. For example, if an airliner costs $100 million and is about 50 dtons, it would be reasonable to price a 100 dton starship around $200 million. That's about MCr50, so maybe it's not that far off. But a 200 dton starship, scaling linearly on that base, should be MCr100, and a free trader or far trader is not nearly that much.

On the other hand, as I mentioned, that's not so far wrong that it's beyond a reasonable guess about what could be done with advances in manufacturing technology. So maybe that part of my thesis statement was closer than I thought.

On the other hand, it's hard to guess how a healthy economy would work with zero inflation, which makes the mortgage question hard to decide.

And insurance (mostly the insurance component of a mortgage) is deeply subsidized by the rules for the sake of playability.
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Old 01-01-2019, 10:14 AM   #10
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On the other hand, it's hard to guess how a healthy economy would work with zero inflation, which makes the mortgage question hard to decide.
I suggest looking at David Hackett Fischer's The Great Wave. Fischer traces periods of price stability and price increase in the British economy over many centuries. The nineteenth century, for example, was a period of very little change in prices, according to Fischer's data.

One of the odder correlates is that illegitimate births are much more common in inflationary periods than in periods of stability. I have no idea why that might be so, or even of the direction of causation.
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