From Pine View Farm

Don’t Build There 0

I grew up along the Atlantic coast. Hurricanes were a regular visitor in my youth. I have a four-year old’s memories of Hazel. Donna knocked out power for a week (my father dug a new well with a pitcher pump so we could have water).

I remember the eery sudden quiet when the eye crosses overhead and the view through the eye of the pillars of clouds.

But, since the late 60’s, no major hurricane has come up the East Coast of the United States. Yeah, people talk of Agnes and Camille, but they came ashore on the Gulf of Mexico; by the time they arrived in the East, they were just big, well, really, really big rainstorms. No wind to speak of, no storm surge. What flooding they caused in the East was because the rain just could not run off fast enough; it did not come from the ocean trying to occupy the land.

No one who grew up where I did would have built–or bought–the kind of condos and hotels that have appeared along the Atlantic Coast in the 40 of years since a major storm has come up the coast in full force.

Now the insurance companies are figuring it out–You can’t fight Mother Nature.

If you want to build there, you can’t get insurance. If you have already built there, you’re screwed:

A place near the water has been an American dream for a very long time. Fifty-four percent of Americans live within 50 miles of a coast.

This is the year, however, in which the big boys in global finance got religion about climate change. As a result, this American dream — as far north as the Washington area, and even New York and New England — is under attack.

The Gulf Coast was hit hard by two massive hurricanes in the fall of 2005.

Follow the money. Insurance doesn’t sound like a world-changer. It seems so banal and prosaic, like reliable electricity or clean water.

Yet without it — you want a place to live? You cannot get a mortgage without insurance.

You want a job? A commercial enterprise cannot run without insurance.

And you are not getting the insurance.

It’s not tree-huggers. It’s actuaries. They don’t care about trees, but they do care about losing money.


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