This could kill New Orleans

This is disasterous to the recovery of New Orleans.

As the insurance company states its reason for pulling out is “the state of rebuilding” of the levees you can lay the blame at the feet of George #^%$%& Bush…

St. Paul Travelers Cos. Inc., Louisiana’s largest commercial insurance provider, plans to cancel all its commercial property policies in the New Orleans area next year, sparking fears that other insurers will follow and slow the region’s economic recovery.

While the St. Paul, Minn., company refused to say how many commercial policies will be affected or specify where the cuts will be in South Louisiana, two insurance brokers who were briefed by the company this week say Travelers will not renew any property insurance for businesses in Orleans, Jefferson, Plaquemines, St. Bernard and eastern St. Tammany parishes. Cuts will also affect individual businesses in other parts of South Louisiana, including St. Charles and St. John the Baptist parishes.

SNIP

State Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon, who was tipped off about Travelers’ plans Wednesday night by the Business Council of New Orleans and the River Region, said he was stunned by the news. When he met with Travelers on Thursday, he was equally stunned by the stated reason for the company’s retrenchment.

“They cited the state of the rebuilding of our levee system as the primary reason for their decision,” Donelon said.

SNIP

On Monday, Travelers found out it could face additional legal liability for levee breach flooding when U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood Duval ruled that the flood-exclusion language in the policy forms of Travelers and a number of other insurance companies was vague, opening the door for the insurers to be held responsible for flood damage. Since insurance companies write the contracts people sign, lawyers said, any finding of ambiguity in an exclusion is generally a win for the policyholder.

Wislocki said there is “no connection at all” between the timing of the court decision and Travelers’ decision against renewing commercial property policies.

SNIP

Shock wave’

Donelon, commercial insurance agents and business leaders said they worry that Travelers’ retreat will inspire others to follow, deepening a crisis in the limited availability and rising cost of commercial insurance.

“This is sending a shock wave through the business community,” said Mark Drennen, president and chief executive officer of Greater New Orleans Inc., a public-private partnership that seeks to promote economic development in the area. “If one company has come to that conclusion, you would anticipate that others would come to that conclusion. Without insurance, we have a calamity. We cannot exist as a business community without insurance.”

SNIP

Other pullouts feared

Marc Eagan, president of Eagan Insurance Agency Inc. in Metairie, said Travelers’ pullout is a devastating blow to the region, and he worries that other companies will follow in March after a special emergency rule expires that had artificially held insurance coverage in place after Katrina and Rita.

“This is going to be a blood bath,” said Eagan, who added that Hanover Insurance Group, Lafayette Insurance Co. and possibly Zurich North America have indicated that they are likely to not renew some commercial policies. (all emphasis mine)

The importance of this can not be overstated. If there is no insurance there is no rebuilding. George Bush can claim the levees are hunky dory but NOLA residents do not have faith in them and now we see neither does the insurance industry.

So what are we going to do about it folks?

UPDDATE: Athenae has more above

UPDATE: NOLA blogger Oyster has more…

UPDATE: Another from me on Shared Risk—–

43 thoughts on “This could kill New Orleans

  1. You did not overstate the importance of this issue, and you highlighted precisely the right sentences.

  2. I have multiple ideas. I’m thinking about official leverage, unofficial leverage. Public PR and underground PR.
    Also Counterintuitive across the crazysphere reaching
    Official Public PR Leverage. Someone who is a press darling needs to say something strong.”Laura Bush says something like, “Please stay, we need your insurance company to rebuild the schools!” Or controversial. “Warren Buffett, who’s investments in Mutual of Omaha helped make his billions could say this in response to the info, “For a insurance company to leave now is actually an opportunity for other better insurance companies to come in and start writing. I’m going to suggest that Mutual of Omaha pick up all their old businesses.”
    Counterintuitive across the crazysphere reaching
    Someone who is a popular to the rightwing needs to say something strong.”This is a disgrace, the insurance business needs to be stay for the rebuilding to happen. I”ve always said that it will be Business that will bring New Orleans back.” Or Controversial. Rush Limbaugh’s, could say this in response to the info something like “Insurance companies SHOULD leave. Its the American enterprise way! If they can’t make a profit they should leave, the people of New Orleans should not be rebuilding below sea level anyway! My friends we need to accept that New Orleans time is up. They were fun to party in but econmically that is all it’s good for. I hate to say this, but nothing below sea-level should be rebuild. We aren’t the dutch with their wooden shoes and windmills. We are Americans and we don’t build in stupid places prone to disaster”
    Sean Hannity could say this in response to the info: “I’ve always said that Americans who aren’t lazy can do anything they put their minds to. I’m not worried about this at all. Another business will simply step in. Besides, Acts of God like the Hurricane are rarely covered anyway, those people were should never have lived below sea level in the first place…”
    Craziersphere, Michelle Malkin should say something like, “The insurance companies have ever right to not stay. Who wants to insure ‘those people’ anyway. We saw how they treated the Superdome when they couldn’t be bothered to leave the city.”
    Officially look into if these people are backed by the government (they probably are) are they big donors/recipients of things?
    Who owns THEM? Who are they connected to? Is t here official leverage there? Scandal potential juicy for the press?
    Those are my suggestions. Get the crazy people to comment on it. Then it will get to Drudge (he rules the mainsteam media’s world after all) and then to Fox and then to the national media and someone official might say, The Government will cover everyone.

  3. So, we have both houses of congress. Who’s in charge of levees?
    Why isn’t this on the 100 hour list. Hell, I’ll settle for 100 days
    lb0313

  4. I hate to say this but I think this will kill NOLa.
    The insurance companies destroyed the industry I used to work in.
    With a Bush in the White House and a GOOPER-favoring business-friendly Scalia court, there’s no way we can overcome this … it is the death blow to the only city in America that wasn’t completely run by the ‘establishment’.

  5. I wonder if this is going to be yet one more case of “free enterprise / business promoting / small government” Shrug is going to lead to yet one more big government program.
    In answer to your question: I suggest doing what you can to let every other coastal resident all up and down the east coast see NOLA as their future. Many coastal cities flood at high tide with rain. Just a 6 foot rise in ocean levels will be devastating.
    Why? a lot of things run together:
    Katrina / Gulf Coast has done a wonderful job of pointing out the problems of separating Wind damage (private insurance) from Flood Damage (Federal insurance): this is undoubtedly lead to a decade of cross suits and finger pointing as each tries to lay the blame on the other. It is also an example of the effects of wetlands destruction in the face of increasing migration to the coast. Private insurance, for years, has been working at trying to pull back from the liability of coastal property.
    Shrub’s actions (not words) have made it plain that he’s not even going to pay for rebuilding the levees to Cat 3 standards. He’s opposed and weakened wetlands protection. For his first 4 years he did everything to delay environmental protection and poo-pooed Global Warming” and even had staff that actively promoted burning more gasoline was part of the rights given by the american dream.

  6. “Re: This could kill New Orleans (Score: 0)
    by Anonymous on Saturday, December 02 @ 13:17:26 CST
    So, we have both houses of congress. Who’s in charge of levees?”
    That would be FEMA- aka Dept of Homeland Defense aka Chaney’s private slush fund.

  7. This has been the case across the state of Florida, where we have Citizens Insurance, the insurer of last resort. CI is required to be X% more expensive than the next highest standard insurance offered, and so few insurers are writing policies in teh state that the few get to squeeze top dollar from the masses.

  8. The fault of the money grubbers and their retreat into the arms of the scumbag
    carpetbagging thieves is that they worship mammon and the profit. This wholesale
    and complete disaster of citywid want to e denial of honest relief brings out into the open the
    obivious conspiracy of carpetbagging whores claiming the ground of displaced honest
    citizens. When this occurs we as a nation lose any and all reality. This false and
    corrupt criminal theft has the fingerprints of the rightwing all over it. Lose all the Black
    people and replace them with White folks that just want to buy at a good price and will
    support White politicans and viola, New White City. SCUMBAGS.
    This is so obiviously a confederate renewal scheme that it reeks of Antebellium lost causes. Grow up assholes.
    CdR

  9. There was a great piece in FORTUNE magazine a few months ago that talked about this insurance issue. It’s not just New Orleans… All over the country, insurers are raising rates, canceling policies, or pulling out entirely because they fear big hurricanes and damages from other types of severe weather. The reason: Global warming.
    Here’s the FORTUNE story:
    http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/09/04/8384736/index.htm

  10. When standard companies pull out of an area then the “Surplus Lines” move in. Companies that can charge according to the risk and not be subject to regulated rates. Something will fill the gap until the levees are brought up to a level five hurricane strength. Insurance company risk engineers are great at revealing a problem and causing that problem to be addressed.

  11. While I mostly agree with your point, your rambling and wild pointing of fingers is doing no-one much good. A little focus and a slighrt reduction in bile can go a long way/ Your point would be even stronger if it were a little clearer.
    brevity helps. keep up the good fight.

  12. Yeah, but the “free hand” of the market has always had an amazing ability to pat the back of the wealthy, while simultaneously flipping off the disposessed.
    Market forces, acting alone, will dictate that McMansions and nuevo sprawl will carpet the area.

  13. Comment by anon
    “Something will fill the gap until the levees are brought up to a level five hurricane strength”

  14. the person in charge of levees has spent an entire career doing something anti-levee, doesn’t believe that levees should exist at all, and is totally incompetent anyway.

  15. “This is so obiviously a confederate renewal scheme that it reeks of Antebellium lost causes.”
    Im confused , are you speaking of the Southern Confederacy?
    If it was that would be the best thing for this country . The South actually cared about the Constitution . It is misinformation to believe the Civil War was about Slavery . The Civial War was about taxation of Southern Ports , without STATE consent .
    The North simply used Slavery as a scapegoat to War .
    They wanted the free slaves as much as a person wants a boil on thier butt . They simply turned a blind eye and allowed the slaves passage to Canada .
    I don’t feel Slavery is good , I myself find it to be a evil and disgusting part of our past .
    If you read the Southern Confederacy’s Constitution , you will find that they had all but abolished Slavery . No longer was a person allowed to purchase slaves from anywhere other than other Confederation States .
    It would have been hard to maintain a Slavery Trade without fresh importation . Sure you have Slave Offspring but it would take a owner years before a newborn was able to produce any “work” .
    After the Southern defeat , our way of life changed . Added was the IRS and unfair taxation of our income . Added was the “Fed” , a corrupt group of BANKERS whom LOAN $$ to US so we can pay it back to THEM . Our rights granted us under the ORIGINAL Constitution have eroded into a close to non-exsistant state . Everyday we see news of Corporate take over of our Government and our way of life . We are all slowly being turned into Slaves for the Federal Reserve .
    The Powers That Be borrow money from the Fed to wage wars and buy overpriced garbage . We the people get to repay the debt via our income taxation . Don’t forget , we get to pay the INTEREST to the bankers too . Now , these Powers That Be also own and or receive alot of compensation from the Wars and Garbage that is purchased .
    Add we the taxpayers also supply the labor for the Wars …
    To me , it is idiotic to simply band-aid New Orleans and return it to the city it was . Now , on a side note , if the problems were fixed so that no Hurricane at any catergory could break down the walls and flood NO again , how could the insurance industry make any money?
    If there is little to no risk , they cannot charge extremly high rates wich equals extremely high profits .
    As someone said , secondary HIGHER PRICED insurance companies will flood in and rake in BILLIONS in profit .
    My home in Florida received $3400 in damage from 3 Hurricanes in 2004 . My insurance has tripled , yet I don’t understand why . For 10 years I had paid them premiums for my home , the $3400 check did not come close to absorbing all that I have paid them in the prior 10 years . So , I get to pay triple the costs (now with Citizens Insurance because my “old” company cancelled everyone ) while the company that insured me walks away from Florida with a profit , even after paying out .
    Florida Power and Light increased the Electricity rates by 27% since last year … all due to fuel costs raising and damage to cover from hurricanes . Ive yet to get a 27% increase in my paychecks to cover the added costs of all these corporations …
    That equates to Slavery … is it not fun to watch yourself be sold into Slavery and there is nothing you can do about it?

  16. The Bush again allows his big business friends to not have to live up to their responsiblities. Being in the thick of it during Katrina, I stood by and waited for aid to come, and we all know what happened there…
    Now they (Bush/Cheney) build more inferior levees so their buddies won’t have to insure and possibly go belly up.
    With the country bankrupted by Iraq and the total mismanagement by the Replicants, will the Dems have the money to rebuild once again the levees to withstand a Cat 5? I doubt it…
    “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world”…

  17. I have done some reading on global warming and if what I have read is true, once the giant ice shelfs in Antarctica melt, ocean levels will rise, according to some estimates, 7 to 15 METERS. One meter being 3.28 feet, this estimates a rise in ocean levels anywhere from 22.97 to 49.29 FEET. These ice shelfs extend beyond the land mass of Antarctica and are directly affected by warming Ocean temperatures. I am affraid, in the long run, all coastal areas around the world will be flooded…

  18. We could always let the free market [www.reachm.com] resolve the crisis.
    Except neither party will support a free market until campaigns are publicly financed.
    So suck it up and pay off your local protection racket. It’s the price ya gotta pay for the illusion of freedom in the neoconomy, just as it was in the paleoconomy.
    -Kevin Hayden
    American Street

  19. This SHOULD kill NOLA. In the face of the predictions of what the weather is going to be in the years to come, of the staggering incompetence of the government at all levels and huge costs involved, it is the height of stupidity to rebuild that city. It would be far cheaper to walk away from any part of that town that saw more than a few inches of water during Katrina.
    This is an unparalleled chance to fix a problem that will cost us trillions in the future unless we think smart today. The houses are gone and most of the land is too polluted to build on without extensive rehab. Cut the owners a check, knock down the levees and walk away. Concentrate your resources on the seaport and the areas that didn’t flood during the hurricane. This should be the standard along the entire coast of this country.
    Stay if you like, but do it on your own dime. That includes jacking my insurance to pay for your stupidity. Stay at your own risk, NOT MINE.

  20. The best thing would be if the people of New Orleans could pull together some kind of cooperative structure to own the properties themselves, both the commercial and the residential ones.
    That way, the folks of the city could become the landlords.
    If something like that doesn’t happen, ownership of all the lovely commercial buildings in NOLA — the French Quarter plus the downtown office towers, the hotels near Tulane and Loyola, and everything else — will pass into the hands of Big, Private Money, which will buy it all as “high-risk” investments.
    True, there won’t be any insurance coverage on it — or at least not adequate insurance — but they won’t have to have full coverage because they won’t use mortgages to buy the buildings. They’ll use the money they have in their own, deep, pockets instead.
    Yes, there are pockets that deep — there are lots of pockets that deep, in fact. And yes, they will buy NOLA stuff as a high-risk bet that one day there will be insurance again, after the mess is straightened out politically.
    They will gamble that they will be sitting pretty then b/c they will own 100% of the buildings, which they will have bought at bargain-basement prices.
    The only thing to do here is to empower the ordinary folks of NOLA to become the property owners themselves, instead of the rich guys.
    We should figure out how to create (legally & financially) property-owning co-operatives — akin to when employees buy their own companies. And then we should make sure that it’s New Orleanians who are in charge of them.
    Wouldn’t that be cool? A non-profit, citizen-owned cooperative city in the heart of the USA! It could change the whole country for the better.
    Imagine citizens actually in charge of their own town…
    sincerely,
    NOLA Lover

  21. Blame it on the levees – the fact that they were built at all.
    Because of the levees we have trashed our greatest fishery.
    Because of the levees a great city was developed BELOW sea-level on SOFT earth. A city that is literally sinking.
    Do the math.
    Today we have aging, defective levees “rated” for a Cat 3 storm and we know that Cat 5 storms exist.
    Unless some group of Great Quality builds Cat 5 levees of Great Quality the residents in below-water zones of NOLA and indeed of below-water zones anywhere should MOVE OUT.
    Remember – all of the issues above exist even if Global Warming does not exist and the sea level remains the same. If the sea level rises… NOLA is TOAST.
    Don’t fight the insurance fight… because even if the Feds covered the insurance issue WHO is going to build Cat 5 levees???
    Move to higher ground.

  22. I don’t know you. I don’t know where you live or what you drive. I don’t know if you have kids or want to. I don’t care. I hope to hell you’re not someone I know because your attitude shames me to have to admit to being a member of the same species as your ignorant arrogant selfcentered duplicitious excuse for a waste of air, water, food, and time amounts to.
    New Orleans is home to more than three million people.
    They have families, history, memories, jobs, roots, homes, businesses, and LIVES.
    New Orleans, a year before the federal levees blew out — or were blown out — was a vibrant, bustling, beautiful place with a charm like no other city on this continent; New Orleans has been in business at the mouth of the Mississippi river for more than 300 years.
    Unless you personally picked out the real estate where you were born and the color of your skin and the earning power of your job and your pension before you were even a gleam in your male parental unit’s eye, you worthless soulless cretin, YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT than any resident of New Orleans or San Francisco or Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and when the day comes that your little paradise is devastated I personally want to be able to tell you to eat shit and die because you have no empathy, no compassion, no common sense, no fellow feeling, and no hope of a freaking idea how stupid you are, you moronic loser, or how hosed you and your high-and-mighty kith, kin and kind really are.
    Nozzle.

  23. Black_Sheep_One
    GREAT response!
    twinyone@gmail.com revealed his (and I’m 89 percent sure it is a male) self-centered empathy-less self in that post. If they wanted to make a post about their ideas about the wisdom of rebuilding, they could have. Yet they chose to go do the tract they did.
    I hope that Twinyone responds.
    P.S. I don’t know twinyone@gmail.com, nor do I want to know him. But you on the other hand, you I want to have a beer with!

  24. I live in central Florida and I can tell you exactly the problem. Take home X or business Z structure that is inland, and it’s value is let’s say Q, is anywhere from 1/4th to 2/3eds the value of coastal properties. Because of the desires of buyers and demand for coastal location property, the value of the land itself has driven structure values skyward. And yet it is said the only fair way to figure rates is on a statewide average, with everyone paying equally into the states “last chance” insurance fund. I say BUNK! There needs to be a risk multiplier applied to insurance rates. If the chances of devestation is 4-times greater on the beach as it is 75 miles inland, then the rate should be set as such. Why should I pay for a price for those who wish to live in a high risk area? The most hopefull outcome is for coastal property would just become too expensive for most, and the rest that stays PAYS BIG!

  25. You are exactly on point. The big question being how fast they will rise (that is will it be 3 meters in a decade or in a century…).
    But like I like to emphasize – I lived in Charleston, SC. Like many coastal towns, a heavy rain and high tide lead to flooding several times a year with 3 feet of water in the streets / shops having to move things to higher places / etc.
    Just a 2 meter rise in ocean levels would permanently close the ground-level of many buildings – catastrophic. And I’m not even thinking about storm surges (storms that currently flood 12 feet up, would flood 18 feet up; add in the possibility of stronger and more frequent hurricaines).
    As an example, when 2 relatively weak and slow moving hurricaines hit the northern part of SC (that is Myrtle Beach area up) – heavy rains couldn’t soak into the saturated grounds, river swells resulted and many areas were inaccessible for weeks till the waters fell.
    Note that the above is an extremely rosy estimate of a mere 2 meter rise in sea level.

  26. Admittedly, I am dissapointed that NOLA had a chance to sit down and think about exactly what would be the best way build a city from scratch.
    But even at that, I think you may be missing a few things. In the past (for defense) and the present (due to NOLA being the mouth of a river which is navigable for most of the height of the country) – it is inevitable that an infrastructure is needed at the mouth of the Missisippi.
    (As an aside, if you would like to make a greater case for the government responsibility, look at the massive system of locks and dams all up and down the Missisippi).
    About being built below sea level – that is only some parts of NOLA. It also ignores that a large mass of destruction goes east and west to those on the coast in areas other than NOLA. They were not below sea level. However, they were also more imperiled by government policy, action and inaction which has caused a massive loss of coastal barrier.
    You may have noticed that the French Quarter seemed to have suffered relatively minor damage in comparison with other parts of the city. Like happened so often, the rich grabbed the prize land (which is the higher ground in the area) as first settlers and then imported the “lower classes” of society. These lower classers had to live somewhere and they got the worse land.
    If I could paraphrase your remark as “suck it up”: I find it interesting that there is a massive migration to the coast. In the Carolinas, the slaves were forced to live on the coastal islands and their descendants are now being forced out as rather fancy houses (Million dollar plus) are built. Who bears the risk? Try the National Flood Insurance – that is you.
    Unfortunately, the only problem with NOLA is that the displaced people are from the wrong race and economic bracket.

  27. Uh, the natural river levees and the City of New Orleans were there long before the Army Corpse [sic] of Engineers mucked things up.

  28. Insurance companies dump us the second we stop paying them, in fact, once when I was really struggling, I couldn’t re-open my insurance policy until all of my fees and accumulated charges were totally paid off. I couldn’t drive to work, had to hitch rides, and almost lost my job. Pretty common story if you ask me for anyone not in the top percentiles.
    If we held them to the same scrutiny and expose them to pain and suffering as they do us, St Paul Travelers would think twice before pulling a stunt like this.
    Americans should not let these profit-hungry elitists ruin us. They can outsource our jobs, products, services, and almost all aspects of our lives. What is next? Will the people of New Orleans have to turn to insurance companies in India or China? Is there any stopping bottom-line policies? If the human race is not wasted by a cataclysmic meteor or at its own hands, it will be a bottom-line decision regarding profits that will do us in once and for all.
    Goodnight and Good luck
    a friend of humanity

  29. This is for both of you.
    Most of New Orleans is sinking at an average rate of 6mm a year. In some areas, subsidence is occurring at a rate of as much as 29mm/year. That’s according to research published in the journal Nature by scientists from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.
    “When you multiply this over 20, 30, or even 100 years, you can see that New Orleans will be lower, and this information should be factored into reconstruction plans, as we look at subsidence that is up to 3 feet in 40 years,” said the lead author of the paper, Dr. Tim Dixon, Rosenstiel School geophysics professor. “What we found is that some of the levee failure in New Orleans were places where subsidence was highest. These levees were built over 40 years ago and in some cases, the ground had subsided a minimum of 3 feet which probably put them lower than their design level.”
    Through analysis of satellite radar imagery, and using structures in the city that strongly reflect the radar signal, the researchers were able to see where land is subsiding the most in New Orleans.
    The team generated a map from space-based synthetic-aperture radar measurements, and note in their paper that it “revealed that parts of New Orleans underwent rapid subsidence in the three years before Hurricane Katrina struck in August 2005. One such area was next to the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet (MRGO) canal: levees failed here during the peak storm surge and the new map indicates that this could be explained by subsidence of a meter or more since the levee’s construction.”
    To make the map, the team used 33 scenes recorded from Canada’s RADARSAT satellite. The technique involves phase comparison of 33 radar images taken at different times along the same orbit and exploits points on the ground that strongly reflect radar, termed “permanent scatterers.”
    “While it may not trouble people that the ground is nearly one inch lower each year in places, in the long term, the impacts could be rather significant,” said Dr. Falk Amelung, one of the paper’s co-authors, also from the University of Miami Rosenstiel School. “While most people aren’t accustomed to thinking about 100 years out, it’s important to recognize that a large part of New Orleans is sitting on sediments that will only continue to sink into the Gulf of Mexico, and it will only get harder and harder to ensure the levees’ durability. By 2106, for example, the ground will be nearly three feet lower on average.”
    Now, how many times do you bleeding hearts want to see a repeat of Katrina? How many more people do you want to kill when the levees fail again? Who in their right mind wants to live in a city that is thirty feet below sea level during a cat 5 hurricane? When do we stop throwing good money after bad? WHEN DO WE CALL A HALT TO THIS FOOLISHNESS?
    Go see Al Gore’s movie, realize that the hurricanes coming in off the gulf are going to get a LOT worse and sea levels are going to rise. Then, take a look at the idiot in the White House who will have increased the national debt of this country by a few trillion dollars before we are rid of him. WHERE will the money for the constant rebuilding your gee whiz wishlist will require come from?
    I will gladly help you during a disaster. I will gladly help you recover from that disaster. I will gladly help you see to it that that disaster does not happen again. I WILL NOT throw money away time after time because you have an emotional attachment to bricks and mortar in a certain place on a map.
    I advocated walking away from any area of the city that flooded during Katrina. I still do. Because wether we do it now, or after you idiots waste untold billions of hard earned tax payer dollars on a fight we cannot win, we will end up walking away.
    It comes down to two questions.
    1. How many people do you want to kill?
    2. How much is too much?
    For Nozzle. You said;
    “New Orleans is home to more than three million people.”
    Are you stupid, or do you lie?
    The Greater New Orleans population was approximately 1.4 million people prior to Hurricane Katrina. Within the city limits of New Orleans itself, the population was 484,674 people (according to the 2000 U.S. census). Since Hurricane Katrina, the population within the city limits of New Orleans itself has been estimated to be between 187,525 and 287,000.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Orleans,_Louisiana)
    “They have families, history, memories, jobs, roots, homes, businesses, and LIVES.
    New Orleans, a year before the federal levees blew out — or were blown out — was a vibrant, bustling, beautiful place with a charm like no other city on this continent; New Orleans has been in business at the mouth of the Mississippi river for more than 300 years.”
    Again, Are you stupid, or do you lie?
    New Orleans was founded in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne, sieur de Bienville, and named for the regent of France, Philippe II, duc d’Orleans.
    (http://www.gatewayno.com/history/new_orleans.html)
    However, New Orleans today. . .
    – Less than half of the city’s pre-storm population of 485,000 has returned, putting the population at roughly what it was in 1880. Those that have not returned now have families, history, memories, jobs, roots, homes, businesses, and LIVES outside of NOLA. Do you really think they will come back after you finish rebuilding in 5 or 10 years? Why? Will you personally guarantee their safety? Numbers from U.S Census
    – Nearly a third of the trash has yet to be picked up.
    (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/26/AR2006082600309.html)
    – Sixty percent of homes still lack electricity.
    – Only seventeen percent of the buses are operational.
    (http://www.civilrights.org/press_room/KatrinaPaperandFAQs.pdf)
    – Half of the physicians have left, and there is a shortage of 1,000 nurses.
    (http://www.civilrights.org/press_room/KatrinaPaperandFAQs.pdf)
    – Six of the nine hospitals remain closed and will probably never reopen.
    (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/25/60minutes/main1936523.shtml)
    – Sixty-six percent of public schools have reopened.
    (http://www.brook.edu/metro/pubs/200608_KatrinaIndex.pdf)
    – Your vibrant, bustling, beautiful place with a charm like no other city on this continent has landlords that have put in place a 40 percent hike in rental rates, disproportionately affecting black and low-income families. Will the new NOLA be only for the rich? Are you rich? Do you live there?
    (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/25/AR2006082500505.html)
    Eighty-four percent of New Orleans residents rate the government’s recovery efforts negatively, while 66 percent believe the recovery money has been “mostly wasted.” What makes you think these stats will improve?
    (http://abcnews.go.com/US/HurricaneKatrina/story?id=2360060&page=1)
    “Unless you personally picked out the real estate where you were born and the color of your skin and the earning power of your job and your pension before you were even a gleam in your male parental unit’s eye, you worthless soulless cretin, YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT than any resident of New Orleans or San Francisco or Sapulpa, Oklahoma, and when the day comes that your little paradise is devastated I personally want to be able to tell you to eat shit and die because you have no empathy, no compassion, no common sense, no fellow feeling, and no hope of a freaking idea how stupid you are, you moronic loser, or how hosed you and your high-and-mighty kith, kin and kind really are.”
    My, My. In my experience, the only people that resort to this kind of nastiness are the ones who choose to defend an indefensible position. You have no facts on your side, your argument is totally lacking common sense and you have no idea if or when I might have lived in New Orleans. You have a marvelous command of the english language, a penchant for exaggeration and an obvious intolerance to being told you might be wrong.
    You are also dumb as dirt.
    F*U*C*K Y*O*U.

  30. While tariffs were an issue – I don’t think that was the largest part of the start of the civil war.
    Perhaps it was the election of Abraham Lincoln (who was the candidate for the abolitionist Republican Party). I don’t know how you can say with a straight face that wasn’t a MAJOR factor.
    And slave importation into the US was banned in 1808. And many states (including southern states) banned importing slaves before that.
    There are arguments about the southern states seceding (which was legal under the constitution). But that’s beside your point (you elude to this with your tirade about “feds”).
    As for the increase in insurance, it could be the fact that all these hurricanes are hitting Florida. And perhaps FEDERAL subsidies (which allow you to get any insurance at all) are being reduced. But I’m not sure.
    Living in Florida equates to slavery? That’s hilarious! If it’s too expensive, move. After all it’s a free country :).

  31. It is always hard if you live there, but I more-or-less agree with Twiny1. It may be cold – but it looks to me like New Orleans needs to be redrawn, and built in safer areas so we don’t have our own version of Venice.
    On a national level New Orleans may be too costly. The insurance companies pulling out seems to reinforce this unfortunate fact.
    Goodbye New Orleans.

  32. New Orleans is going to be the next elite port for the rich and famous, with big Cruise Liners sitting in the bay..belching diesel all day long..and minorities (former New Orleaners) will be the slave labor on the docks and the ships…New Orleans is purposely being neglected, just like this war in Iraq is deliberately being mismanaged..lots of taxpayer dollars being siphoned into deep corrupt pockets…guaranteed to have friendly ties to Bush

  33. Actually “Surplus Lines” are the ones where the expected profit isn’t big enough to attract the state-registered insurers, or, occasionally, where the locals don’t want to take it on at any price and send it to Lloyds of London.
    Generally the guys insured by surplus lines companies get a better deal than the “accepted lines” policies

  34. I hold no brief for US Insurance companies – in fact I consider that on average they must overcharge: otherwise foreigners couldn’t provide cover on the “Surplus Lines” that state-registered insurers have turned down without going bust.
    However I would say, firstly, that an Insurance Company that goes bust is worse than no insurance at all – you’ve paid your premium and got nothing back.
    Secondly, the average insurance compaqny is there to make money and they will provide insurance cover for New Orleans if they think they can make money out of it. There is a fair price for every risk. The risk of another hurricane hitting New Orleans is not significantly greater than they were in 2003 or 2004 when the companies were prepared to insure residents.
    So why don’t they – step forward Judge Stanwood Duval.
    There were two types of catastrophe insurance policies available to residents before Katrina hit – storm insurance from several competing insurers out to make profits from their customers and a flood insurance policy under a government programme. Some people took out both; a lot of residents took out storm insurance but not flood insurance because they thought the latter was too expensive. The commercial insurance policies were not intended to provide flood cover because there was a separate government scheme for that.
    After the levees broke some commercial policyholders argued that the storm was the cause of the flood, which is at least worth debating – I have to admit that I haven’t followed that case closely enough but I assume that I should have heard if they had won it.
    Almost everyone took it for granted that commercial insurance policies did not cover flood risk – certainly every one of the thousands who took out the government-sponsored flood insurance and anyone who rejected it on grounds of price as well as all the insurance and reinsurance companies.
    So this means that the terms of the contract have been changed after the event. It makes the whole area uninsurable. If the insurer can be asked to pay for things not included in its calculation of the premium it cannot know what to charge. If your son or kid brother entered the school boxing tournament as a 16-year-old featherweight and his opponent’s coach suddenly pulled the kid out of the ring and substituted Mike Tyson you would never trust him again.
    While it may simply be that Travelers thinks other insurers are charging premiums that are too low and it cannot compete, I cannot see why anyone would worry if this was the case – they would just ask Allstate or Chubb for a better quotation.

  35. Nonsense.
    Tripe.
    Tell it to the Dutch.
    If San Fran gets to be on a faultline, and Los Vegas in the desert, then NOLA gets to be in a swamp.
    and it will be rebuilt.

  36. see my comment above re: LA and SFO being along faults, LV being in a desert, and the netherlands being underwater.
    Your arguments are rational, and New Orleans will be rebuilt ANYHOW
    and you will help pay for it.
    welcome to the human race.

  37. Uh no … the Army Corps of Engineers is in charge of levee protection. The problem is that they designed and built the current levees incompetently, and they refuse to accept responsibility and be held accountable for the resulting disaster, which did not have to happen. Ever since the levees broke, the Army Corps has busied itself with studies and plans and outlines and proposals … and the result is that the city, which CAN be protected from flooding caused by a hurricane the strength of Katrina, is stillno safer than it was in August of 2005. And THAT is why I’m not investing my insurance settlement in rebuilding my house and also why insurance companies (rapacious bastards admittedly) don’t want to write policies in New Orleans.

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