British Insurance Ltd. is offering insurance policies to protect soccer fans' mental health in the event their team suffers a devestating defeat.

``We have sold more than 1,000 policies, a total of 1 billion pounds ($1.84 billion) of exposure against England leaving Germany precipitately,'' says Burgess, who operates ``We can insure anything England fans are worried about losing.''

Burgess says ``business is bizarre'' and the actuarial science of sorting genuine English soccer calamities from disingenuous ones is thorny, with more complications than a Florida hurricane insurance policy.

The former Lloyd's of London underwriter says each contract would have an independent panel of sports commentators and psychiatric experts whose job would be to examine a policy- holder's claim that England's World Cup exit was premature and that it had scrambled his ability to function.

Earlier this spring, for instance, Burgess agreed to indemnify England fan Paul Hucker for more than 1 million pounds in case he suffers ``mental trauma'' resulting from the team's first-round games against Paraguay, Trinidad and Tobago, and Sweden. The premium costs about $195 and is one of hundreds of similar shelter-from-the-Sven policies his Essex-based firm has established for England fans.

For about the same price, Burgess says he's insured the virginity of three women in Inverness, Scotland, who believe they will immaculately conceive the second coming of Christ.

``I have Scottish fans taking out mental-health policies that pay for treatment if England wins the World Cup,'' says Burgess, who has also sold 30,000 policies to California residents fearful of being abducted by aliens.

Burgess says the policies are legitimate and that his clients are as daft as brushes.

Fascinating, but I think the insurance premium money might be better spent gambling directly against a fan's favorite team.

(HT: Tyler Cowen.)



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