And Finally

Ex-dividends

Punters chase payout on Hiddleswift insurance

Singer-Songwriter Taylor Swift arrives at the Met Gala in New York

Swift profits for policyholders

With at least 20 songs about break-ups in her back catalogue, the smart money on Taylor Swift’s latest romance was that it wouldn’t last forever.

And sure enough, it hasn’t. “Hiddleswift” – the nickname for celebrity couple Tom Hiddleston and Taylor Swift when they started dating in the summer – is no more. The two stars called it quits after just three months of dating.

But while the rest of the world is struggling to come to terms with the blink-and-you-will-miss-it romance, for some of China’s netizens, the separation couldn’t have come any quicker.

As we reported in WiC333, speculative types had been purchasing break-up insurance to capitalise on the couple’s high-profile relationship. This meant that if the lovebirds were to split within a year, the ‘insured’ party would at least double its money. Plenty of investors jumped on the opportunity: one vendor sold as many as 16,000 policies focusing on Swift’s love life, says Yangtze Evening News.

Shrewd or just cynical, the horde who went short on Hiddleswift are now firmly in the money.

One insurance broker told Sixth Tone, a news website, that he had sold 700 break-up policies on the celebrity couple since setting up a Taobao shop in June. Now he has to pay back thousands of yuan to ‘policyholders’.

But many of the other insurance sellers have simply decided to disappear, with customers who purchased the policies on Taobao discovering that the vendors have ghosted away.

Or as Beijing Daily put it: “They have vanished as quickly as the relationship has fizzled out.”

For instance, a 21 year-old college student paid Rmb5 ($0.74) on the e-commerce platform to buy a policy that promised to return Rmb15 if Swift and Hiddleston broke up within a year. After the news that the two had called it quits, she tried to contact the vendor to collect the premium only to learn that he had shut up shop.

“It was just a few yuan — it didn’t matter to me whether they lasted that long. I just wanted some fun,” the student admitted.

Others took the matter more seriously. “The behaviour of the sellers was no different from daylight robbery,” another fumed. “I plan to complain [to Taobao] until the seller pays up.”

The e-commerce platform says buyers should be cautious when buying certain kinds of insurance. “Because such unregulated insurance products will naturally have payment problems, customers should be aware of the risks and make more careful purchasing decisions,” warns Liu Xiaojie, from Taobao’s public relations department.


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