Re: Cryonics Thoughts

Peter C. McCluskey (
Sat, 5 Dec 1998 08:03:29 -0800 ("Scott Badger") writes:
>>3) If I name a Cryonics organization as a beneficiary of life
>>insurance in order to secure financing for freezing and I expire in
>>such a way that I'm not salvageable (explosion, acid, eaten,
>>spontaneous combustion, alien abduction, lost at sea, etc.) is there a
>>clause to divert the money to my family?
>No problem. They only get the money if they suspend you.
>Check out their contracts.

I don't recall seeing such a provision in the contract I signed. Think of the risks they could face if they make a good faith effort to freeze you under conditions where it isn't clear whether there is anything left of your mind, and then some lawyers try to second guess what they accomplished. They really need to know when they start trying to freeze you whether they will get paid, and there's no good alternative to trusting them not to take the money when there's clearly nothing to do. They face significant risks if people suspect they are acting out of greed (at least as long as there are alledged experts who claim it can't work, they need to be very carefull to avoid anything that could be confused with fraud), so a moderate amount of independant scrutiny of their behavior will normally prevent any unethical use of money.

>revived. They're not going to want to pay death benefits if you
>didn't actually die. I'm curious as to whether they'd have a case
>for demanding their money back when I'm revived!

For people suspended when there is a near consensus within the legal system that cryonically suspended people are dead, they won't have much of a case. Being declared legally dead and abandonded by the medical profession is the condition on which they agreed to pay the benefit. There's no fraud involved, and the insurance agent typically understands that payment for suspension is what is being contracted for.
Suspension more closely approximates what people want life insurance to help mitigate the harm from than information theoretic
death does (suspension leaves you unable to help your dependents), so I expect strong market pressure to resolve ambiguities in insurance contracts towards treating suspension as equivalent to death even when the popular usage of the word death starts to become uncertain.

Peter McCluskey          | Critmail ( | Accept nothing less to archive your mailing list