The Scheme – first there were just word games (Chapter 2)

Water, water everywhere
nor any drop to drink.
Water, water everywhere
now insurance won’t sink

The word game started with water – lots and lots of water – lifted by Katrina’s powerful winds, waves became walls of water – collapsing with such force water went further inland than shown on any flood map. New Orleans, the Big Easy, became the only bowl it never wanted and, those playing the word game began calling Katrina, the windstorm, the Great New Orleans Flood.

Immediately after Hurricane Katrina came ashore, and before anyone could possibly assess the damage, the insurance industry began pushing the message that the damage was caused by flooding, rather than wind.  “The fact that a government-run levee fails and creates a flood does not create a liability for private insurers,” said Robert Hartwig, chief economist with the Insurance Information Institute in New York.  “I would say on dollar terms, at least among homes, the majority is related to floods.”

The distinction was important because wind damage is covered under homeowner policies – flooding is not.  Industry representatives took the message one step further when they tried to spin the story as “The Great New Orleans Flood”.

The phrase first appeared in a press release issued by insurance industry Risk Management Solutions (RMS), just three days after Katrina made landfall.  RMS claimed that the following would account for at least 50% of the anticipated total economic losses, and that, “The 2005 Great New Orleans Flood has developed into the most damaging flood in U.S. history.

Winning this round of the word game was a natural for RMS, the world’s leading provider of products, services, and expertise for the quantification and management of catastrophe risk.  Little more than 60 Continue reading “The Scheme – first there were just word games (Chapter 2)”

New Alabama Insurance Commissioner – a man with a plan

The Mobile Press Register reports on an idea under consideration next door in Alabama.  Let us know what you think about the approach.

New Alabama Insurance CommissionerJim Ridling said Tuesday that Gov. Bob Riley’s administration is mulling plans to subsidize homeowners’ insurance in Mobile and Baldwin counties, a potentially major shift.

“I’m a capitalist, and I believe in letting markets run, but when it doesn’t work, you have to look at some other things,” Ridling said.

Ridling, appointed in September to replace outgoing Commissioner Walter Bell, made the announcement in a meeting at Theodore High School , where he faced angry and anguished questions from nearly 200 attendees.

He indicated that among possibilities would be to provide subsidies to help residents cover high deductibles. He also indicated that the state would consider giving tax credits or rebates to Mobile and Baldwin residents whose rates are much higher than statewide averages….

I suppose every plan has a slippery slope – not as slippery IMO as the slope folks are on when they can either afford a house or insurance but not both. Ridling heard that story, too. Continue reading “New Alabama Insurance Commissioner – a man with a plan”

Tased and Confused….

Here I go – I told Steve yesterday I had the post title but I was not going to write the post.  I’ve noted the Sun Herald editorial board has been mysteriously quiet on Mike Chaney’s Market Conduct Examination, perhaps because they endorsed him last election, (since we are “sharing concerns”) but they aren’t keeping quiet about the use of tasers in Waveland. Point of disclosure, I’ve known Chief Varnell since I was a kid. My own opinion is the technology may have advanced faster than the training but Jimmy is the right man running the WPD IMHO. In any event here is the Sun Herald editorial on the use of tasers in Waveland straight from page 1 of today’s (online) edition.

Until last month, the United States Marine Corps did not authorize the use of Tasers… in Iraq. The Corps sent more than 100 Tasers to Iraq in 2004, but “its use was scuttled after concerns were raised over whether the training in place was sufficient and whether its use would hurt efforts to gain the trust of Iraqis,” according to the Marine Corps Times.

Only now, with new guidelines in place for training and use, is the Corps comfortable with issuing the device to its troops in a combat zone.

Yet in the last 12 months, the Waveland Police Department has used Tasers at least 87 times.

And the most obvious law enforcement agency that South Mississippians should be most concerned about is the Waveland Police Department. Continue reading “Tased and Confused….”