Along with its annual survey, the insurance information provider tabulates these duties are worth \$137,795 this year, an increase over last year’s estimate of \$134,944.

To calculate Santa’s value, Insure.com estimated the number of hours he might spend at each important task—investigator of the naughty, list checker, workshop manager, delivery driver and many others—and used data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics to find the closest matching occupations and average hourly wages.

When asked how much Santa should be paid, adults responding to the survey tended to be either very stingy or very generous:

• Santa should not be paid. His work should be charitable (37%);
• Approximately \$1 for every child younger than age 15 in the world, or \$1.8 billion a year (27%);
• Between \$100,000 and \$200,000 a year (15%);
• Less than \$100,000 a year (12%); and
• More than \$200,000 a year (9%).

Those who expect pro bono service likely wouldn’t give Santa any sick days. Nonetheless, Insure.com asked who should fill in for Santa if he calls out sick on Christmas Eve. There were several categories of choices, but actor Tim Allen snags the sleigh keys based on his past “job experience.”

Because they have played Santa before, respondents chose:

• Tim Allen in “The Santa Clause” (27%);
• John Goodman in “The Year Without a Santa Claus” (15%);
• Tom Hanks in “Polar Express” (13%);
• Billy Bob Thornton in “Bad Santa” (2%); and
• Bryan Cranston in “’Twas the Night” (1%).

Because they have plenty of money to spend on presents:

• Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates (14%); and
• Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett (7%).

Because he wouldn’t forget to feed the reindeer:

• Animal expert Jack Hanna (6%).

Because they would keep the elves in line: