Friday, October 13, 2006

It Isn't “Life, Liberty and Property Insurance”

LibertyThe homeowners of Florida are upset. For decades the actual cost of insuring property in Florida against hurricane damage was under-estimated by everyone. But now that the costs are more accurately known - the estimates have been getting better since Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida in the early 1990s - the costs of purchasing insurance have gone up substantially.

And the homeowners of Florida are upset that in a free market (sic) they are expected to bear the costs of that insurance.

They want to institute a 1 cent sales tax for providing hurricane relief.

They want to tell the insurance companies how much they can charge and where they can and cannot buy reinsurance.

They want to force insurance companies to insure homes in high-risk areas under the same terms they would insure homes in low-risk areas. (Public control of privately-owned capital is a textbook definition of fascism.)

In effect, they want to overturn the free market.

Here is a clue; if you are unwilling - or unable - to bear the cost of living in a hurricane-prone area, then you should not live in a hurricane-prone area. You should not expect that I will be willing to help you defray your costs of living there.

If this means you cannot afford to live in Florida, or you cannot afford the snow-bird (North in summer, South in winter) life-style, that is NOT my problem, but yours. There are plenty of places in this country where the cost of owning a home (total costs) is substantially less than it is in Florida. There is no right to live-in-Florida. There is certainly no right to live cost and risk free.

Dollar SignAs you may or may not know, I live in Florida. I live on a boat, and my insurance is insanely expensive. Even so, if where I live were to get hit with a Katrina-like hurricane, I would expect to lose everything. Even though I have some insurance, it does not cover everything I own. I choose to live in Florida. I choose to accept the risks and associated costs of living in Florida. The steep rise in costs may force me out of Florida, but I don't expect that the public at large has any obligation to protect me from the consequences of living where and how I do. I am responsible for the consequences of my decisions, and I am fairly disgusted that other people feel that the public at large - including me - has the responsibility to protect them from the consequences of their actions. Accepting responsibility for the consequences of your actions is called being a responsible adult.

The St. Pete Times has several stories championing all of these social control strategies, and completely missing the idea that decisions have costs, and as in the case of insurance, all of the costs may not be known at the time you made the decision, or those costs may change over time. That is life. It isn't the result of some great corporate conspiracy on the part of the Evil Insurance Companies™. Things change. The rules change. The conditions change. It is not the job of the state to take care of me under all of those conditions. Even though I am sure that the St. Pete Times (which is slightly to the left of Chairman Mao) would love to have the state assume more power over the evil free market.
(See a recent Quote of the Day on freedom.)

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