: views from the Hill

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


A lot has been said about the insured damages from Katrina. $25b, they say. What about those uninsured damages? Another $4b, $10b, $25b, they say. How many people had flood insurance? The National Flood Insurance Program has coverage, but how much? How many people will just walk away from their battered homes and the mortgages that cover them? How about the renters? How about the landlords who rent to the renters who walked away? Where will they find new renters? How will they make the payments on their income properties? Will they just walk away?

How much money do the mortgage lenders have in reserve to cover the foreclosed mortgages on homes that aren't homes anymore? And even for those with insurance, will it cover enough? State Farm is the largest homeowner insurer in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. What happens to State Farm? What happens to Allstate, who is the runner-up in the insurance competition? How much paper did the insurers have covered by reinsurers? Is Warren Buffett still carrying that risk? Others?

What about industry and jobs? How goes the guy who teaches school with no school to teach in, the woman who works the casino, when the casino is toothpicks, the guy at the dry cleaner, the one who delivers food to the stores that aren't open, flips burgers, drives a taxi, installs cable? What about jobs? And when your job is gone and with it your health insurance, if you had any, and you were already living on the hairy edge, what then?

Schools. How can a school district afford to take in the kids whose parents left NOLA or elsewhere and probably won't be going back for a while, if ever? How can a state afford to educate another state's kids? How can Louisiana afford to deal with the damage done? How can the feds afford to help out the states with billions already spent elsewhere?

And the Mississippi and all its bustle ... the port of New Orleans is out of commission for a long while.

And the basics. ... No power for a million, two million people. Scarce drinking water. Contamination. Pollution. Gas out of supply. Batteries. Food.

An editorial in the Biloxi Sun Herald.

Tony Ridder, my local boy whose publishing empire publishes the Sun Herald, also had something to say.

And us'ns and USns ... what happens when the next straw is placed on the camel's back?

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