Don’t be a Cotton-Headed Ninny Muggins - Insurance Risks in Holiday Movies


By David DeMoss

The holiday season is upon us! Bring out the decorations, the gift giving, and the holiday spirit. This year, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the holidays might look a little different for everyone but we can always count on one aspect to remain the same: nostalgic holiday movies. Whether it be a romantic comedy, a classic, a sing-a-long, or a mix of all, Christmas movies are sure to raise spirits and bring some much-needed joy.      

You know you need a hobby when you start applying reality to the movie world. For us insurance folk, it’s sometimes hard not looking at on-screen situations and wondering how an insurance carrier might see it. With the fun adventures and relationships in these movie plots, comes risk. Check out the below list, created by Hannah Winchester, detailing our favorite Christmas movies and their possible insurance risks.


The lovable Buddy the Elf is pretty confused about his upbringing after he discovers that he’s actually a human. Before he heads to New York to find his biological father, he’s working in the North Pole and is the worst toymaker in the world (a real cotton-headed ninny muggins), so he’s demoted to toy tester where he can keep an eye on quality control.

Sadly, if Buddy isn’t good at making toys, he’s probably not good at checking them, so we think a product recall policy could be pretty handy. A product recall policy would cover rectification costs, loss of sale, and reputation protection — a good fit all around for the North Pole.

‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’

Poor old Jack Skellington is longing for something more than Halloween and stumbles across Christmas Town. Unfortunately, Halloween Town doesn’t quite understand the premise of Christmas and decides to kidnap Santa Claus/Sandy Claws…

Oh, hello, kidnap and ransom policy; wouldn’t it be handy to have you around? 24/7 access to expert response consultants, insurance against extortion, disappearance investigation costs, and costs incurred during a hostage crisis. Christmas Town would have really benefitted from this one.

‘Arthur Christmas’

Arthur and Steve are Santa’s sons, and there’s a little bit of family competition over who is going to be the Big Red Guy’s successor. Whereas Arthur is the good-natured klutz, Steve is techy and organized, heading up an ultra-high-tech craft, the S-1, that delivers gifts to the world’s children with military precision.

The tech set up for this mega-ship is an impressive one, but it’s a cyberattack waiting to happen! Frankly, we’re quite surprised Steve doesn’t already have a comprehensive cyber policy offering protection against the impact of system business interruption or a major data breach. Either event could lead to billions of pretty sad children.

‘Die Hard’

Set on Christmas Eve, John McClane drops in on his wife’s work Christmas party, but it all goes wrong when a group of terrorists makes an appearance. The terrorists, led by Hans Gruber, take control of the building and hold party-goers hostage, but of course, McClane, a New York City cop, escapes detection and begins to take down the terrorists one by one.

Never a better use for a terrorism policy! Cover for damage to premises, restriction of access to property and utilities, and loss of income.

‘Home Alone’

Kevin McCallister is accidentally left behind when the rest of his family go on holiday over Christmas, but it’s not Kevin we’re focusing on — it’s those lovable rogues Harry and Marv, who repeatedly try and break into the McCallister’s home.

Forget the obvious child neglect and the questionable parenting and make way for the professional liability cover. Harry and Marv probably class themselves as real professionals and these two could do with some professional liability insurance, especially errors and omissions cover, which includes bodily injury and property damage.

‘Love Actually’

This Christmas British rom-com has a medley of characters, stories and love interests, and they’re all inexplicably connected. All types of love are covered — true love, lust, unrequited love, affairs, platonic love, widowers — you name it, and at least one plotline will deliver.

It’s a double whammy of insurance needs in this film; we’re throwing in media licensing for Billy Mack’s disastrous cover of Wet Wet Wet, as well as some management liability insurance for the prime minister’s budding romantic relationship with one of his household staff.

‘National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation’

The Griswolds have grand plans for Christmas, but after unexpected family members rock up, excessive Christmas light installations causing citywide power shortages, a harmless kidnapping, and a few explosions, nothing is quite going to plan.

Quite honestly, this situation needs all kinds of insurance, but we’re looking at property and casualty because the family home goes through some detrimental changes. Bodily injury and property damage liability would be vital for the Griswolds and that unfortunate electrocuted cat.

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