Alien Abduction Insurance Cancelled !

.c The Associated Press
 
      By EDITH M. LEDERER

      LONDON (AP) - The company that insured the 39 members of the
Heaven's Gate cult against abduction by aliens said today it
stopped writing new policies after the group's mass suicide last
week.
      The cult members paid $1,000 on Oct. 10 for a policy that
covered up to 50 members and would pay out $1 million per person
for abduction, impregnation or death caused by aliens.
      ``Because of the manipulation of malevolent third parties,
innocent lives were wrecked,'' managing director Simon Burgess said
today. ``I am deeply shocked and saddened, and that's why we're
withdrawing from the market. ... We don't wish to contribute to a
repetition of the Heaven's Gate deaths.''
      He said the group discovered his company provided alien
abduction insurance via the Internet.
      The 39 took their own lives last week at a home on the outskirts
of San Diego, Calif., seeking redemption in a spaceship they
believed was trailing the Hale-Bopp comet.
      The beneficiary of the policy was the Society of Heaven's Gate,
said Burgess, a Lloyd's of London insurance broker who is managing
director of the brokerage Goodfellow Rebecca Ingrams Pearson.
      He said the cult had paid the premium and the annual policy
remains in force until Oct. 9. ``They would have to prove that they
were abducted,'' he added.
      Last summer, the company added alien abduction insurance to the
unusual policies it offers, which Burgess said account for 10
percent of its overall business.
      Heaven's Gate was one of 4,000 policyholders worldwide who
bought alien abduction insurance, he said, adding that Britain and
the United States were the biggest markets.
      The policies against alien abduction will not be renewed when
they lapse, Burgess said, but the company continues to offer other
unusual policies.
      ``We insure virgins against immaculate conception, prostitutes
against loss of earnings from headache and backache, conversion to
a werewolf or vampire, death or serious injury through paranormal
activity and unfaithful husbands'' against having their penis cut
off, he said.
      AP-NY-04-02-97 0638EST