Saturday, August 22, 2009

Water Works

Not long ago our homeowners insurance was canceled.

Perhaps we made a costly claim?
Not according to the insurance company who actually said the claim we made was small considering the cause.

Then the cause must have been frivolous?
Not unless you call having your home struck by lightning frivolous.

Then perhaps lightning struck the house too often during our 25 years of residence?
That was not the case since this was our first and only claim and it was made it in 1987.

So why, you may ask was the dastardly act being perpetrated on us?

Our insurance was being canceled because we live on Long Island and the insurance people claim that we are due for the ‘big one,’ as in a category 3 hurricane or worse.

Does this cowardly behavior on the part of our former insurance company worry anyone else? It should because it could signal the opening of the flood gates as other entities raise their rates based not on facts but rather probabilities and statistics.

For example, hasn’t it been 65 million years since that asteroid killed the dinosaurs? Wow, we must be living on borrowed time. Uh-oh, there go my life insurance rates!

But speaking of flood gates one of the main reasons the insurance companies are canceling policies is they fear more flood damage up and down the Eastern seaboard. They have even drawn up new maps defining areas they feel are more likely to cause a drop in their profits and have raised the premiums accordingly assuming they have not dropped them entirely.

You see they do not wish to be a part of the incumbent claims that would follow any possible catastrophic event. In other words they will only insure against the impossible. One must wonder why such risk averse companies chose to be in the insurance game in the first place.

But their fears should be examined. In light of the newsworthy floods flooding the airways this year perhaps we the people should also be thinking about flood damage here on the Island and what if anything we can do to minimize the effect.

These fearsome floods would most likely be caused by stronger than normal hurricanes and not necessarily the proverbial ‘big one’ although if it’s coming it is four seasons closer than last year. And with the debate continuing over global warming, or global climate change depending on your politics we may see more and more such storms in our future.

Many years ago I saw the Mississippi River flood, something it unfortunately does all too often. While watching the devastation this caused I had a simple thought. Why not build a nationwide system of interconnected water mains to effectively evacuate flood waters to areas less in danger or actually in need of the precious liquid. While one part of our country is experiencing a flood invariably another part is dealing with a dangerous drought or worse, brush and wild fires.

A project of this magnitude would take many years and put thousands of people to work all across America. If done properly this system could even have the extra added benefit of producing some power from the flow of water during flood caused exchanges. And one more side effect to consider; these jobs could not be outsourced to, say India.

Admittedly this would not be an easy undertaking. First rational people would have to convince the Republicans and Conservatives of the country that it was not a plot to kill grandma or something equally as stupid. Then it would require top minds working out many details beforehand but since when has that stopped Americans? We built a nationwide system of highways, rails and a power grid that allows utilities to find extra wattage when necessary. Why not start the same system for water?

The President is touting plans to shore up our infrastructure and looking for ways to jumpstart the economy. We on the shores of the Atlantic agree with him. I for one would like to see more action before the rest of the insurance companies turn tail and follow our old one out of town.

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