Monday, June 27, 2011

Risk Management and Floods

The good people of Minot, ND may be forgiven for allowing their flood insurance policies to lapse:

"When the federal government lifted a requirement a decade ago that low-lying valley homes have flood insurance, most residents stopped buying it."

Now, one may argue that, just because the gummint doesn't require you to purchase flood insurance (as opposed to health insurance, of course), doesn't automatically mean that it's not a good idea to do so. But that same government, courtesy of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, has spent the past 6 decades ensuring that the Mighty Missouri would and could be controlled through a series of dams and levees.

Unfortunately, snail darters (or whatever) have now taken precedence over human lives, industry and livelihoods:

"The Corps began to utilize the dam system to mimic the previous flow cycles of the original river ... On February 3, 2011, a series of e-mails from Ft. Pierre SD Director of Public Works Brad Lawrence sounded the alarm loud and clear."

The net result: lives endangered, valuable crops destroyed, houses washed away.

And, of course, many (most?) of these losses are uninsured because the people believed that the Engineers worked for them, not the snail darter.

Which is not to let those folks completely off the hook: if you own something valuable, then it often makes sense to mitigate the risk of its lost by purchasing insurance to cover it.
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