Putting money on full moon

Updated: 2013-08-28 01:37

By HE WEI (China Daily)

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Unusual insurance packages will pay out to disappointed sky gazers

Moonstruck romantics can rest assured if they are insured.

It is now possible to take out an insurance policy for the moon to appear at Mid-Autumn Festival that won't cost the Earth.

Putting money on full moon

Taobao and Allianz jointly roll out a new product that puts a lighter spin on insurance for Mid-Autumn Festival. Wei Xiaohao / China Daily

A new product, jointly rolled out by China's largest online marketplace Taobao and German insurer Allianz, will compensate policyholders if they are unable to enjoy full moon gazing.

Insurance packages, priced at 20 yuan ($3.27) or 99 yuan each, were launched on Monday and will available until Sunday on Taobao, Jiang Xing, head of Taobao's insurance business unit in Shanghai said.

For 20 yuan, you can bet that it will be a moonless night in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Moonless, for this purpose, means the moon will not be visible to the naked eye. The final arbiter to rule on the moon's visibility will be the China Meteorological Administration.

If the moon is not visible, those holding 20 yuan policies will receive 50 yuan in return.

Other cities are also available to bet on.

The policies will not pay out if the moon appears on the holiday, which falls on Sept 19 this year, in the sky over the cities bet on. The maximum payout is 188 yuan, Jiang said.

Policyholders can buy a package for 99 yuan, with the list of participating cities expanding to 41, including Beijing, Nanjing and Xi'an.

Those insured can double the amount they paid, as well as win a box of branded mooncakes.

The results will be determined by weather reports from the China Meteorological Administration. All compensation will be sent to buyers' Alipay accounts, Taobao's online payment system.

The unusual package offers a new, lighter twist on the usual business model for insurers, said Song Xuanbi, deputy chief operating officer of Allianz China General Insurance.

But Qiu Baochang, head of the lawyers group of the China Consumers' Association, questioned the legitimacy of the product, arguing that the so-called insurance is essentially a form of gambling.

"It works in the same way as football gambling, which is a disruptive force to market order," Qiu said.

Dong Juan, a white-collar worker in Shanghai, is drawn to the product and was not hesitant to buy the 20 yuan package for fun.

But Che Zhiyi, 29, who runs an education center, said she would shun it.

"The idea of having Mid-Autumn Festival is all about a celebration of reunion and family gathering. There is simply no point in betting on the holiday to get a return," she said.