Lloyds of London estimates the total value of insurance for this year's World Cup is £6.2 billion. That's around £3 billion for the various stadiums, £3 billion for activities related to the event such as broadcasting, sponsorship, competitions and special offers, and around £200 million in liability cover.
Among the incidents which could be covered by such insurance are delays to games, whether minor and causing problems for broadcasters with advert break schedules, or major and meaning fans are unable to attend.
The game's international governing body says it has spent around £400 million on insurance against the costs which would arise if the tournament had to be postponed or relocated. Such an event took place with last year's edition of the Indian Premier League in cricket where security fears means the tournament was relocated to, ironically enough, South Africa.
FIFA says it has not taken out coverage against the tournament being cancelled altogether, reasoning that such an event is "extremely unlikely" even if a delay became necessary.
A wide variety of retailers are offering special deals offering discounts or refunds if their national team wins the World Cup. In many cases they will have taken out an insurance policy which will pay out to cover their costs in such an event. This means the retailer will pay the same amount, the premium, whatever the result and will have calculated that this is a price worth paying given the potential increase in sales.
Lloyds quotes one underwriter as saying leading individual players may carry up to £40 million of cover for a disability or death which brings their career to a premature end. Another underwriter says some players would have to take out cover worth £10 million to cover the risks of their public image taking a battering to the extent that it cost them endorsement deals.
One fan claims to have taken out a £100 policy which would pay out £1 million if England being knocked out of the tournament early (in the opinion of a panel of pundits) caused him emotional trauma as diagnosed by a doctor. However, as the same man appeared in press reports for carrying a similar policy at the 2002 and 2006 events, and has appeared in several other stories about insurance, it seems very likely that even if the policy is genuine, it is more of a publicity stunt than a legitimate attempt to mitigate risk.
One insurance company carried out a survey and found that one in four households has seen food or drink spoilt in the excitement of a televised sporting event, with football the most common cause. In 44 percent of these cases, the stain was permanently visible. The company suggested that home insurance would help cover against the costs of professional cleaning or replacement of spoiled carpets and furnishing, though in reality a sizeable chunk of these costs would come under the excess in most policies.