Insurance Can Regulate Risk

I saw this story about the fires out West. The governor of Oregon says that “situations have been dire enough to make even firefighters retreat.”

This gives the impression that firemen are superheroes. They are people. The first thing we learned in fire class in the Hansell was, “Who is the most important person on the scene of a fire?”

The answer is, “You!” A fireman is no good to anyone dead.

My experiences with forest fires are limited. Once, as some friends and I were salvaging materials from a microwave relay tower on a mountaintop, we saw smoke coming up from down the hill a ways. We went down there with shovels and Pulaskis and found three fires, each about the size of a pickup. The duff (organic material) was about a foot deep over the rocky soil. It was obvious we needed help. One of us ran up the hill and drove the pickup down to a phone.

Before long a couple of Forest Service guys showed up to put on their gloves and tell us we would get paid for our work.

That “even firefighters” thing is haunting me. It reminds me of the old story of the fire department coming to get a cat down out of a tree. We are constantly bombarded with the notion we have to call an authority or expert because we lack the ability to think.

Any disaster soon leads to a call for help from the state; then the federal government because the states can’t print money. Republicans preach and brag about limited government and then stick their hands out just like the dreaded socialists.

The process of government help in disasters has got to be the most wasteful thing since war.

Remember the story of the truckload of ice? On September 2, 2005 Mark Kostinec loaded his truck with 20 tons of ice in Pennsylvania to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. On September 17 (Constitution Day, haha.) and 4,100 miles later he unloaded it in Fremont, Nebraska. His truck was burning fuel the whole time to keep the ice frozen.

We do have to share risk in order that individual circumstances don’t ruin us. It’s the civilized thing to do.

How this is accomplished has increasingly been delegated to taxpayers by an elite class who knows how to game the system. The lobbyists convince the tools in Congress that the uninsurable need the taxpayers to step in. But they are uninsurable for a reason.

Private insurance is the ultimate filter of financial plans. Private insurance companies study the amount of risk and charge a premium commensurate of it. The premiums for house insurance in a flood plain would make it too expensive to build there.

The same would hold true for a house surrounded by brush in California. I imagine PG&E’s decision to invest in green energy instead of maintaining safe infrastructure was partially influenced by the massive government safety net (along with bankruptcy and corporate structure laws).

Why, if I choose to live in a safe place, should I pay to rebuild a foolish person’s house? This isn’t just a selfish opinion. To replace government disaster aid with private insurance would benefit everyone. The brushy hills of California and the marshes around Houston could be left as wildlife habitat to be visited by tourists.

Less risky lifestyles and business decisions would be promoted by individual relationships with insurance companies if taxpayers didn’t furnish a safety net.

Overweight smokers would have incentive to discard bad habits. People who want to live in arid brushlands would keep an area cleared of fuel around their houses. Insurance wouldn’t just regulate these extreme examples. How buildings are built and minor lifestyle choices can make a big impact on survivability in weather and health events.

It’s time to get the government out of the insurance business. From crop insurance to health insurance, taxpayer funding promotes bad decisions. Firemen know when to retreat. We are people just like them. 


 Insurance Can Regulate Risk

I saw this story about the fires out West. The governor of Oregon says that “situations have been dire enough to make even firefighters retreat.”

This gives the impression that firemen are superheroes. They are people. The first thing we learned in fire class in the Hansell was, “Who is the most important person on the scene of a fire?”

The answer is, “You!” A fireman is no good to anyone dead.

My experiences with forest fires are limited. Once, as some friends and I were salvaging materials from a microwave relay tower on a mountaintop, we saw smoke coming up from down the hill a ways. We went down there with shovels and Pulaskis and found three fires, each about the size of a pickup. The duff (organic material) was about a foot deep over the rocky soil. It was obvious we needed help. One of us ran up the hill and drove the pickup down to a phone.

Before long a couple of Forest Service guys showed up to put on their gloves and tell us we would get paid for our work.

That “even firefighters” thing is haunting me. It reminds me of the old story of the fire department coming to get a cat down out of a tree. We are constantly bombarded with the notion we have to call an authority or expert because we lack the ability to think.

Any disaster soon leads to a call for help from the state; then the federal government because the states can’t print money. Republicans preach and brag about limited government and then stick their hands out just like the dreaded socialists.

The process of government help in disasters has got to be the most wasteful thing since war.

Remember the story of the truckload of ice? On September 2, 2005 Mark Kostinec loaded his truck with 20 tons of ice in Pennsylvania to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. On September 17 (Constitution Day, haha.) and 4,100 miles later he unloaded it in Fremont, Nebraska. His truck was burning fuel the whole time to keep the ice frozen.

We do have to share risk in order that individual circumstances don’t ruin us. It’s the civilized thing to do.

How this is accomplished has increasingly been delegated to taxpayers by an elite class who knows how to game the system. The lobbyists convince the tools in Congress that the uninsurable need the taxpayers to step in. But they are uninsurable for a reason.

Private insurance is the ultimate filter of financial plans. Private insurance companies study the amount of risk and charge a premium commensurate of it. The premiums for house insurance in a flood plain would make it too expensive to build there.

The same would hold true for a house surrounded by brush in California. I imagine PG&E’s decision to invest in green energy instead of maintaining safe infrastructure was partially influenced by the massive government safety net (along with bankruptcy and corporate structure laws).

Why, if I choose to live in a safe place, should I pay to rebuild a foolish person’s house? This isn’t just a selfish opinion. To replace government disaster aid with private insurance would benefit everyone. The brushy hills of California and the marshes around Houston could be left as wildlife habitat to be visited by tourists.

Less risky lifestyles and business decisions would be promoted by individual relationships with insurance companies if taxpayers didn’t furnish a safety net.

Overweight smokers would have incentive to discard bad habits. People who want to live in arid brushlands would keep an area cleared of fuel around their houses. Insurance wouldn’t just regulate these extreme examples. How buildings are built and minor lifestyle choices can make a big impact on survivability in weather and health events.

It’s time to get the government out of the insurance business. From crop insurance to health insurance, taxpayer funding promotes bad decisions. Firemen know when to retreat. We are people just like them. 

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