As the group stage of the World Cup comes to an end this week, 16 countries will be going home after their dreams of glory were dashed. China didn’t make it to Brazil for the tournament, failing to get out of the third round of the Asian Football Conference qualifying, so its supporters were forced to find a second team to root for.
To give Chinese soccer fans additional incentive to follow the World Cup and pick up a second team to follow, an insurance company offered up “World Cup Heartbreak Insurance.”
Only good for one round, the policies cost 8 yuan. As the Wall Street Journal points out, if you chose Spain, you would have had a pay out of 18 yuan, which is about $1.30 USD. That money doesn’t go directly back into your pocket, however.
There is a catch. The insurance payout is actually a credit for purchases on Taobao, the popular online consumer purchasing platform run by e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding.
“If you use cash it looks a bit too much like gambling,” said Zhang Yi, product manager at An Cheng Insurance of the southwestern city of Chongqing. “It’s more like entertainment. It’s fun.”
It also has another purpose. “This World Cup Heartbreak Insurance is for young people,” said Mr. Zhang. “They are the main audience for the World Cup. Our target is to attract their attention and to buy more of our products.”
The big teams are covered, except for England, as a spokesman told The Telegraph, which makes sense given its penchant for providing plenty of disappointment every four years.
There is also the all-important “Soccer Hooligan Insurance,” where if you’re at a bar and get pummeled by a supporter of another nation, a 3 yuan policy covers up to 10,000 yuan (roughly $1,600 USD) of medical expenses.
According to the company, over 1,000 month-long policies have been taken out. With the number of soccer powers bowing out in the group stage, there are likely a decent number of payouts to be had.
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