A long time ago, in an insurance agency far, far away …

May 4, 2021

My name is Agens Makler of Makler & Daughters Insurance Agency—I am one of the daughters.

My father started the agency in 3230 Lothal Year on the planet of Tatooine. And, anyone familiar with Tatooine knows that the planet has three things in abundance: sand, cantinas and pod-racers. So, naturally, Makler & Daughters sold coverage for sandstorms, liquor liability and pod-racers.  

At the agency, we handled a high volume of liquor liability claims—there was a lot of scum and villainy on Tatooine. So, my father handed the pod-racing division to me when I turned 18. I always planned to work at the agency for a while and then to apply to the Imperial Academy eventually. But, things worked out differently.  

Soon after I took over the pod-racing division, I met a young pod-racer named Anakin Skywalker. No other insurance agency on Tatooine would agree to insure Anakin’s pod-racer—and, could you blame them? He was young and human. Humans have a terrible track record in pod-racing because they have only one pair of hands, which gives them a severe disadvantage when trying to navigate through a narrow canyon at 600 miles per hour.

But, I couldn’t say no when Anakin asked if I would help insure him—physically, I couldn’t, as though something was controlling my mind. Certainly, my father wasn’t happy. But it turned out all right—Anakin won his only race, and our insurance agency really took off after that. Dad transferred most of the agency into a rehabilitated CR90 Corvette that we won in a game of sabacc—a high-stakes card game based a little on skill and a lot on chance.

After that, my life wasn’t much different than most insurance agents. Until one day, I received a call.

“Hello?” I answered.

Only heavy breathing replied.

I sighed. Another weirdo?

“My name is Darth Vader. I wish to speak with Agens Makler.”

I froze. “This is she.”

“The Galactic Empire is constructing a new space station. And we need an insurance agent to help us find the best coverage for it.”

How do you say no to a Sith Lord? You don’t say no to a Sith Lord.

I went to see Vader’s space station to conduct an appraisal. And what a space station it was! When I landed, Grand Moff Tarkin greeted me and gave me a tour.

The space station—officially known as DS-1 Orbital Battle Station—was huge. I couldn’t help but dream about the commission check that would come getting Vader’s business. Of course, I wasn’t there just to marvel at the size and scope of DS-1—I was there to assess the risk. I looked at the blueprints of the station and it looked almost impenetrable. I noticed a small thermal exhaust port that was connected right to the core of the station inexplicably. If something got into that port, it could destroy the whole station.

I mentioned this to the Grand Moff. “That exhaust port could cause you some problems. Two meters of quadanium steel and a little solder would fix the issue.”

 The space station cost more than a trillion dollars. I figured they wouldn’t hesitate to spend a few hundred dollars to make the space station the universe’s “ultimate weapon” (Tarkin’s words, not mine).

After I left, I found a carrier—Intergalactic Insurance Co.—to write the risk. I couldn’t wait to cash those commission checks and move into a high-rise condo on Coruscant. My father finally would be able to retire, too—like all retired insurance agents, he would move to Florida.

However, a few months later, I got another call from Vader.

“Makler and Daughters, Agens speaking.”

Again, only heavy breathing replied.

“How can I help you, sir?”

“I wish to file a claim,” he said.

“I’m sorry to hear that, Mr. Vader. May I ask what the loss is?”

At that point, I was covering not only the space station, but all of the Empire’s speeder bikes, a couple freighters and some Outer Rim bases.

There was a long pause.

“Sir? What is the loss?”

“It blew up.”

“I’m sorry, what blew up?”

“DS-1. It blew up.”

I froze. “How on Tatooine did it blow up? It was impenetrable.”

Vader explained the Rebel Alliance somehow shot a proton torpedo through a previously unknown weakness, a two-meter-wide thermal exhaust port.

I closed my eyes and tried to take a deep breath. Grand Moff Tarkin must have ignored my advice to seal the only weakness the station had. Was he being cheap? Or was he overconfident? What an expensive mistake.

I called Intergalactic and it paid the trillion-dollar claim—again, you don’t say no to a sith lord. Intergalactic  went out of business afterward quickly, (I have no idea why it didn’t buy reinsurance) and my agency took a big hit. Not only could I no longer count on the commission check from the Death Star, but word quickly got around that I was the agent who helped insure that floating disaster and I lost a lot of carrier contracts. Things were not looking good.

Two years later, Makler & Daughters was struggling and I was down on my luck. We sold the Corvette and moved into a junker we picked up on Jakku.

That was, until the sith lord called again.

“I need help,” he said.

You don’t say no to a sith lord. “No,” I said. “I’m not interested in anymore death traps.”

“No, you don’t understand,” he replied. “This isn’t a Death Star. The Empire has learned from its grave mistakes, I promise you.”

You don’t say no to a sith lord. “Okay. What is it?”

“The Empire wishes to insure a new fleet of transports. They’re called All Terrain Armored Tranports. AT-ATs for short.”

I really didn’t think I had a choice at that point. I needed to find a new line of insurance or the agency was doomed.

“Fine,” I replied. “I’m on my way.”

I went to see these AT-ATs. But I took one look, and I was ready to walk away. They looked like someone built a metal torton! If you don’t know, tortons are giant, reptile-like creatures with a shell to protect their backs, horns on their snouts, and gargantuan pillar-like legs and feet.

And these are supposed to be all-terrain? There’s no way they could go down an incline without toppling over. A rope strung in front of their legs could trip them easily. And they’re top heavy—they would go down hard. And, how fast could they possibly be, given their size? Surely, they would be an easy target for any enemy—let alone the Rebel Alliance, which the, Empire had been fighting for 10 years.

“We have floating cars,” I said. “Why not make these things fly?”

“We’ll think about it,” Vader said.

 Begrudgingly, I searched for a carrier. I finally found an excess-lines carrier but it would write the policy only if the Empire guaranteed that it would fix the design flaw—the legs—on the AT-ATs. I assured them that the Empire would fix the legs, and the carrier issued the policy.

Unsurprisingly, the Empire did not change the design of the AT-AT—I was told something about how changing the design would make the AT-ATs look less cool. And sure enough, there was a loss with one of the AT-ATs a year later.

Also unsurprisingly, the AT-AT tripped over some rope, injuring everyone inside severely. To make matters worse, the driver of the AT-AT was an undisclosed operator.

You can guess the carrier denied the claim. The Empire filed an errors-and-omissions suit against me, and claimed that I never said that its insurance could be at risk if the AT-ATs weren’t redesigned.

Thankfully, I won the suit because I could argue comparative negligence—apparently, in some places—far, far away, in New Jersey—that’s not allowed. I did advise the Empire to redesign the transports. The Empire ignored my advice again.

I never worked for the Empire again. Turns out, you can say no to a sith lord. Now, while my father relaxes in Florida, I live on Tatooine. And, I hear that Jabba the Hut is looking to insure his sail barge.

Bradford J. Lachut, Esq.
PIA Northeast

Bradford J. Lachut, Esq., joined PIA as government affairs counsel for the Government & Industry Affairs Department in 2012 and then, after a four-month leave, he returned to the association in 2018 as director of government & industry affairs responsible for all legal, government relations and insurance industry liaison programs for the five state associations. Prior to PIA, Brad worked as an attorney for Steven J. Baum PC, in Amherst, and as an associate attorney for the law office of James Morris in Buffalo. He also spent time serving as senior manager of government affairs as the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, a chamber of commerce serving the Buffalo, N.Y., region, his hometown. He received his juris doctorate from Buffalo Law School and his Bachelor of Science degree in Government and Politics from Utica College, Utica, N.Y. Brad is an active Mason and Shriner.

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