Kids out of school for the holidays?

You could take them to the Star Wars film at the Franklin Institute's IMAX theater. They could amble through the heart's arteries or marvel at stars in the planetarium.

Or they could gaze at Jamie Maguire's hair stuck to a bicycle helmet.

Why is his hair and helmet on display? Consider it an object lesson. The reason James "Jamie" Maguire Jr., 55, was able to give $1.5 million to the Franklin Institute was, in part, because the helmet saved his life in a bicycle crash last year.

"I couldn't feel anything," he said.

Maguire leads the $2.9 billion Philadelphia Insurance Cos. He, his family's charitable foundation, and the company helped to bankroll the institute's $3.1 million SportsZone exhibit, which opened in October.

Training for a triathlon during the summer of 2014, Maguire went over the crest of a hill, pedaling 30 miles an hour, and slammed into a downed tree.

"When I came to, I was lying on the pavement and I couldn't feel anything from my neck down," he said. "I was like a head in the road. I thought: 'Oh my God. This is it. I'm going to be in a wheelchair for the rest of my life.'

"Fortunately, I'm 100 percent OK. I was really lucky."

Did that accident change your perspective?

I was so focused on training and physical fitness, and it opened my eyes to other things. There's a certain amount of obsession that comes with that much training. We were sponsoring Ironman races [as a company] and as a sponsor, I felt like I had to participate. But I think it showed me that life is fragile. In a moment, things that you take for granted can be gone. I've slowed down a little bit and I appreciate more.

You've competed in eight Ironman events and more than 15 marathons. How does running help you?

It's my meditation. It's the time I use to clear my head, to clear my mind. Sometimes I think about business issues.

How much time do you spend training a day?

Maybe two hours a day.

I'd hate to be in the company gym with my sad little routine when you show up to work out.

Even if you do the treadmill for 10 minutes, I'd think it's super you're there. You don't have to be a gorilla or a super aerobic runner.

Your company issues cybersecurity insurance. That field is evolving so fast. How do you figure out how to weigh risk?

We began to offer it by endorsement and we gradually broadened our coverage. When we first launched the product, we [partnered with another insurance company] because they had a lot of research. They had an underwriter who had experience with the product. He helped set the rates. Then as [claims] started to come in, we modified our rates and limits.

Any big losses so far?

Knock on wood, we haven't had any big losses yet. We don't cover the actual dollars lost. So if there's a breach and there's $10 million stolen out of your bank, we're not going to cover that. But we'll cover putting the systems back together. If you have a bad image as a result of having a data breach, we'll work with a PR firm to restore your image.

Your company covers many specialties - religious organizations, for example.

We do churches, but we wouldn't do the Catholic Church for a while.

Really? But you're Catholic.

Whether I'm Catholic or not, we have to look at the underwriting standards. The Catholic Church - they were embroiled in major scandals. In our view, that wasn't the time to offer any coverage. Now things have blown over. They appear to have their arms around it. They've put some protections in place. We stepped in and are beginning to offer coverage to the priests, [and] the volunteers, the staff.


Interview questions and answers have been edited for space.