Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Ahoy, mateys! (From the P&C Files)

When Somali pirates [ed: did they actually swash their buckles?] forcibly captured Captain Richard Phillips and his crew last year, the primary concern was, of course, for their safety. But what of the ship's cargo? About a third of the 17 thousand metric tons was "relief supplies bound for Somalia, Uganda, and Kenya."

The other two-thirds, one supposes, were commercial; one further supposes that most, if not all, of that cargo was insured. Regular readers may recall our story from three summers back, detailing how (since-disgraced) insurance carrier AIG put together a veritable A-Team to fight fires threatening their clients' high-end homes.

Taking a page from AIG's fire-fightin' heroes, a "group of London-based insurance companies ... is planning to create a private navy to protect commercial shipping passing through the Red Sea and the north-western Indian Ocean."

These are big-dollar (or pound sterling) losses, too: at an average of $4 million a pop, pretty soon you're talking about real booty. The insurers have been thus far underwhelmed by the prowess of their respective countries' official military forces, and have decided to go full Chuck Bronson.

Or not:

"Instead, this private navy would operate under the direct control of the international naval force that is already in the area, with "clear rules of engagement valid under international law."

Then what's the point?

And it seemed so promising.

RELATED: Speaking of fire fightin', what do you think of this?

"Each year, Obion County residents must pay $75 if they want fire protection from the city of South Fulton. But the Cranicks did not pay ... Because of that, not much is left of Cranick’s house."

On the one hand, fair's fair: the Cranick's knew the potential consequences, and made their choice.

On the other hand: how big a deal would it have been for the firefighters, already on the scene to protect the neighbor's property, to turn the hoses on the Cranick's house?

On the gripping hand: it's a fire service; what's the incentive to prepay if you know that you'll be rescued anyway?

So here's an IB poll:

"Should the fire department have tried to put out the house fire once they were on the scene?" As always, comments on this issue are welcome.

[Hat Tip for the Cranick's story: Hot Air]
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