Insuring a Sleigh-Full of Risk for Santa Claus, Indiana

What It Takes to Insure the Real Santa Claus

Yes, Virginia, Trident Public Risk Solutions really does insure Santa Claus. (The town of Santa Claus, Indiana, that is.)

Map showing Santa Claus, Indiana

It’s fitting that the quest for a post office helped shape the little town that would be Santa Claus.

Originally called Santa Fe, the small settlement in southern Indiana learned it would have to choose a new name when its application for a post office was denied in the 1850s. (Another Indiana town named Santa Fe already had a post office.) According to local legend, residents met on Christmas Eve to choose a new name and were inspired after a gust of wind blew open the door and the sound of sleigh bells jingling caused the children to call out, “Santa Claus! Santa Claus!”

The Santa Claus Post Office opened in 1856 and eventually began receiving letters to Santa, which volunteers have diligently answered for more than a century. They responded to more than 22,000 letters in 2018, continuing the tradition of creating special memories for those far beyond the town’s geographic footprint.

Insuring “America’s Christmas Hometown”

Trident Public Risk Solutions started working with the town’s insurance agent well before the hectic Christmas season and began insuring the town in November. This is one town that embraces its namesake wholeheartedly, from aptly named streets (such as Holiday Boulevard and North Kringle Place) to its Santa-themed businesses and recreation.

With a population of fewer than 2,500, Santa Claus swells with visitors. One million people visit the town’s theme park, Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, says Trident underwriter Brian Mahy.

“Given that this town is just 6.4 square miles, 1 million is a lot of people to go through there each year,” he says.

While Santa Claus faces many of the same exposures as other small towns and cities, its theme puts a twist on its risk. The crowds of visitors it hosts mean Santa Claus must be extra diligent in providing adequate services for the influx. More visitors means more wear-and-tear on roads and other infrastructure and makes the need for other services more pressing, Mahy notes.

“It speaks to the variety and eclectic nature of writing public entities, and Santa Claus epitomizes that,” Mahy says. “It’s fun to say, ‘I write Santa Claus now.’”

The risks considered by the agent and Trident when reviewing the needs of Santa Claus include the operations associated with administration, utilities, streets and roads, the police department, parks and recreation, and facilities.

Santa Claus loves a parade

Small towns and cities are an important part of Trident’s commitment to insuring public entities.

“That’s where Trident started, and that is our bread and butter,” Mahy says. “That’s how we ended up with Santa Claus.”

Unlike some of its competitors, Trident includes special events, such as fairs and parades, in its coverage.

“We understand that this is so common and good for the population,” Mahy says. “You’re going to have special events. We’re here for that.”

What’s in a name?

Even though “Santa Claus” was not the community’s first choice for a name, the moniker has definitely put the town on the map. The town has done a great job turning its namesake theme into a positive for the community while maintaining its infrastructure and services, Mahy says.

“Yes, it’s Christmas themed and Christmas is all about families – but so is the town,” he says. “Some smaller towns simply exist as a place for people to go home at night. To see a town that stuck so much with a theme and made it a positive thing for the community and themselves, it shows that smaller towns when given the right opportunities and the right management can excel.”