On a Sadder (but also Lighter) Note: Space Insurance market mourns “Sparky” as tough wording expert, joker and good man

by | Aug 11, 2017 | History, Seradata News, Space Insurance

We are sad to report the death of Brian Spark, a well-known and respected figure in the space insurance market. He passed away on 7 August following a long period of illness.

Brian Spark Courtesy: Atrium

Brian Spark, who came to be nicknamed “Sparky”, originally joined the insurance market from school in 1959 as an insurance broker at Commercial Union. He worked his way through various firms until he became part of the airline and products team at insurance broker J H Minet, eventually joining its newly formed space team as a policy wording specialist. From there Brian worked for brokers Crawley Warren, Leslie and Godwin, and Willis before joining the Marham Space Consortium, led by Simon Clapham, as an underwriter in 1994. This eventually became the Brit Space Consortium.

At Brit he acted as a mentor to David Wade as he transitioned from space lecturing and engineering to a full-blown space underwriter, later helping him to set up the Atrium Space Insurance Consortium, which David now leads. “Sparky”, who retired eight years ago, was, no doubt, proud of his apprentice.

During his time in the market, Brian Spark also wrote the “Space and Satellite” section of the Chartered Insurance Institute aviation course and contributed to books on space law and insurance. Before he became ill, Brian and his wife, Lin, had been enjoying retired life, splitting their time between Earith and in Florida, no doubt while quaffing his beloved red wine tipple until his illness forced him to give it up.

On a personal note: This writer, who knew “Sparky” on and off for about 20 years, was always grateful for his help and friendship. While “Sparky” had weather-beaten craggy looks, which always reminded your correspondent of the scary escapee criminal in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations”, he was in fact one of the nicest insurance executives you could meet.

Yes, Sparky could be rough-edged at times, and he would not put up with any brokers’ baloney having been one himself, using an occasional “Foxtrot Oscar” as his response. However, in telling it how it was, rather than how others would like it to be, he came to be known as a good man – one you could trust, whether in business or elsewhere.

Sparky’s sense of humour was always very much alive, including once sending this e-mail to his colleagues a few years ago:



Whether it is God or the Aliens (which he was more likely to believe in) who have now got him, we give our salute to Brian Spark, and offer our condolences to his wife Lin, to his family and to his many friends.


About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Space Insurance Year 2021 was a winning one on a calendar basis

Space Insurance Year 2021 was a profitable one when net losses are compared with premium revenue. According to the Seradata Read more

Space Insurance: OneWeb decides to insure its entire GEN 1 constellation’s launches (Corrected)

OneWeb, the low Earth orbit (LEO) satellite communications company part-owned by the UK Government, has signed an agreement to insure Read more

Measat-3 drifting in GEO arc after anomaly

Peter B. De Selding of Space Intel Report has reported that the Measat-3 satellite looks to be in trouble. Read Read more

Gallagher Snaps Up Willis Specialty and Willis Re

Insurance broker Arthur J Gallagher & Co is once again set to be a beneficiary of another firm’s mega takeover. Read more

SXM-7 payload failure is a bad start to the year for space insurance market

Sirius-XM Radio announced on 27 January that its SXM-7 satellite, which was launched by a Falcon 9 rocket on 13 Read more

Space Insurance: AIG makes surprising move in turning its back on class

In what could be billed as the biggest news for the space insurance market since Swiss Re left in 2019, Read more

Express AM-6 has had its Ka-payload turned off due to thermal issue

The Russian Satellite Communications Company (RSCC) has confirmed that it has turned off the Ka-band payload of the communications satellite Read more

China loses another: Long March 3B launch fails and Palapa-N1 falls into the drink

Having had a launch setback with its new Long March 7A (CZ-7A) rocket in March, it looked unlikely that China Read more




nasaspacexecoreviewsissesaArianespacevideochina25virgin galacticULAfalcon 9RoscosmosDGAaviation weekaresIGTsoyuzawardsBeidouspacespacewalkSatellite broadcastingmoonInternational Space StationevarussiaCargo Return VehicleBlue OriginmarsblogresearchboeingimpactAirbus DSspaceshiptwomarshyperboladelayjaxademocratISROobamaorionhypertextrocketgoogle lunar prizelunarVegalaunchbarack obamaconstellationStarlinktourismfiguresEutelsatnorthRocket LabSESspaceflightFalcon 9v1.2FT Block 5node 2fundedOneWebRaymond Lygorome2009Express MD-2thales alenia spacess2dassault aviationAtlas VaviationLucy2008wk2radioIntelsatukElon MuskLockheed Martinexplorationtestmissiledocking portsstlinternetsuborbitalsts-122China Manned Space Engineering2010newspapercotsgalileoAriane 5flightmissile defensespaceportspace tourismExpress AMU 1Ariane 5 ECAaltairbuildspace stationProton MSLSshuttleIntelsat 23scaled compositesVirgin OrbitCosmosinternational astronautical congressEuropean Space AgencyrulesElectronbudgetnew yorkhanleyLauncherOneshenzhouspace shuttleatvVietnamboldenAriane 6congressMojaveGuiana Space CenterOrbital ATKNorthrop GrummaniackscSpace Systems/LoralUK Space AgencylawscnesUS Air ForceInmarsatILSprotonnew shepardsoyuz 2-1aTalulah RileyLong March 4CApollousadarpaSkyloneuAstriumastronautlanderLong March 4BpicturebasedragoneventSSLfiveinterviewLong March 2CAprilWednesdaySNC50thfalconlunar landerSea Launchlink7successorcustomeratlantisSpace InsuranceLong March 2D/2conferencenational space symposiumorbiterTelesat15