Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fla. finds state allies in renewed push for federal hurricane insurance help

It is time to ban coastal development. The idea that a person has the right to build in hurricane-prone areas without bearing the responsibility for financing the known economic risk is a type of juvenile dementia.
Shifting the costs to people who share in none of the benefits (aesthetic, economic, whatev) is theft.
From ClimateWire via the New York Times:

Officials from four states vulnerable to rising climatic trauma hope to finalize legislation this week that would vastly expand the federal government's financial responsibility during hurricanes and earthquakes.

The emerging bill seeks to make the U.S. Treasury the co-signer for up to $80 billion in loans received by ailing public insurance programs in Florida and three other susceptible states -- California, Louisiana and Texas -- as described by participants.

It's a controversial concept, but one that supporters say is needed -- and fast -- to buttress state-run catastrophe funds responsible for paying billions in insurance claims after natural calamities, like hurricanes, which scientists say are gaining power from warmer seas associated with climate change....MORE
That last line is, to say the least, duplicitous. The two faced approach is exemplified by stories like this, from a 2007 post "Galveston poised to defy geologists"
GALVESTON, TEXAS — Leaders of this fast-eroding barrier island — the scene of the deadliest hurricane in American history — are about to approve nearly 4,000 new homes and two midrise hotels despite geologists' warnings that the massive development would sever a ridge that serves as the island's natural storm shield.

...City officials "are choosing not to see anything that gets in the way of their precious tax dollars," said study co-author Tim Dellapenna, an assistant professor of marine geology at Texas A&M University. "But believe me, there is a protective ridge on Galveston Island, and this development would cut right through it."

Now I know the re-insurers have some pretty fancy ways to lay off their risk but how do you insure against stupidity?