I really hate to say this, but the insurers have a point. They're pulling out of commitments all over the Gulf Coast. I loved it when Gene Taylor said, "There should be a national registry for child molesters and insurance executives." Some people have been completely screwed over by their insurers. I also think they should pay out in Mississippi because the law clearly states that any ambiguity in the contract should be arbitrated in the favor of the policyholder.
That being said, I don't blame them one bit for what they're doing right now. Here's a couple of reasons why:
* They, like most of us, thought the levees were properly built and the dudes at the Corps got their engineering degrees were real and not written on napkins. We don't trust the Corps, so why should we be surprised if they are underwhelmed with the repair job they've done since the storm.
* Katrina, Rita, and Wilma could be the start of a generally more turbulent climate and they should reduce their exposure on as many fronts as possible.
* Someone has got to stop people from building in areas of the city that just should be converted into wetland. A city of 200,000 people has no business having the footprint of a city of 600,000 (the city's historical peak).
* I've flown over the wetlands in a helicopter multiple times recently. I've seen the weltand devastation with my own eyes. I'm going to make the argument that, when you factor in Katrina-caused wetland loss, the city is more vulnerable to hurricanes at this very moment than EVER before. That's a scary thought.
I'm not the only non-insurance person out there that feels this way
If I were an insurance executive, I'd shoot myself. Because I'd be an evil, seal-clubbing bastard. But, I'd leave in my suicide note instructions to pay everyone out for damage caused by Katrina and Rita in full and pull out of all future commitments in Louisiana and Mississippi south of I-10.
I'm a young engineer in the city. I've got the money to invest in property, but there's a reason that I'm renting an apartment on the second floor in one of the highest areas in the city. This summer, I've got to decide whether or not purchase a home that was built by my great-grandfather more than 100 years ago. I don't know whether or not I'll do it and I've been thinking about it for months. I'm that serious about this.