Monday, September 26, 2005

Libs: Insurance policies that excluded flood coverage should pay anyway

With the logic (or semblance thereof) that only a liberal or trial lawyer (pardon the redundancy) can muster, there is an effort in Mississippi to force insurance companies to pay for flood damage from Hurricane Katrina.

Never mind the fact that flood insurance was excluded from the policies that the homeowners and businesses willfully signed. Never mind the fact that the federal government has a flood insurance program (which they shouldn''s not a constitutional responsibility for the federal government to be in the insurance business). No, those "evil, greedy" insurance companies are being heartless by enforcing the policies that they wrote and to which policyholders agreed.

What would be the fallout? From Opinion Journal:
Both men [Dem. state SG Hood, and tort ambulance chaser Scruggs] are demanding that private insurers pay for Katrina flood damage, though the companies never collected one dime of flood premiums over the years and have no such reserves. As it is, insurers may be on the hook for $60 billion. Sticking them with flood damage could add another $15 billion to the tab, which would certainly send several insurers into bankruptcy.

Insurance companies that survived would have to assume that flood liabilities are now theirs to pay, regardless of the contracts they write. They'd then have to charge everyone in the region higher premiums--by one estimate, as much as $500 a year--to cover this flood risk. Or they could take the more rational option of fleeing a state where contracts aren't worth the paper they're written on.

In other words, Mr. Hood is guaranteeing that victims of the next hurricane will have even less financial protection than Katrina's. And he's complicating the entire reconstruction effort by raising the cost of insurance for the contractors, union workers, homeowners and businesses that are all going to need liability and/or property and casualty insurance before they rebuild. The attorney general is a Category 5 destructive force all by himself.
Hey, but it makes them media darlings (and enriches the lawyer), so screw Mississippians, huh?