Sandy: What Happened and What's Next

By: Bryan Norcross , 4:01 AM GMT on November 05, 2012

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It's cold and getting colder with a soaking nor'easter set to blow through the storm zone Wednesday night through Thursday. People in New Jersey, New York, and southern New England that are stuck without heat are going to need help to get through this week.

The current forecast storm track would cause minor coastal flooding, gusty winds that could bring more power problems, and wet snow at higher elevations. But the biggest threat is the cold, wet, and windy weather's impact on people that are not prepared to deal with more misery. We need a big effort. There are a lot of folks and there's a lot of misery.

Meanwhile, the big-storm cleanup is underway, and there is already talk about what should be done "to be sure it doesn't happen again". That's all well and good, but we're not even 100 percent sure what happened at landfall, so let's start there.

What was going on with Sandy at landfall?

Sandy was behaving as forecast through most of the day last Monday. It was an off-the-charts unusual storm - something like a hurricane embedded in a nor'easter - but the forecast nailed it in almost every way. Then something changed Monday afternoon.

Instead of slowing down as forecast, it took off like a rocket ship heading for the South Jersey coast. On that pace and track, the center would have crossed the coast near Cape May about 6 PM. But the center hung something of a right and it took 2 hours longer to get to the coastline farther north, 5 miles from Atlantic City. At least that was the National Hurricane Center analysis at the time it was happening.

Additionally, at 7 PM, with the center less than 20 miles offshore, the NHC declared Sandy "post-tropical". In other words, in their analysis, the technical, meteorological structure of the system wasn't enough of a hurricane anymore to continue with that classification. Well... maybe, maybe not.

There were complicated things going on near landfall and it's going to take detailed analysis to figure out what the center of the hurricane part of Sandy did, and how it related to the nor'easter part of the storm. This type of post-analysis happens with every storm, but in this case it could have big ramifications.

If the conclusion is that Sandy was still a hurricane - meaning the structure of the system was mostly tropical, not mostly nor'easter - what does that do to insurance deductibles? In many cases big deductibles kick in when a "hurricane" makes landfall, as opposed to a tropical storm or some other freak-job of a storm structure. Hurricane warnings can play into it as well.

There have already been very official sounding proclamations by governors and other optimists that the big deductibles will NOT apply since it wasn't a hurricane. There is the potential for a big mess here if the science proves otherwise.

Hurricane Hunters were flying through the center of the hurricane part of Sandy right up until landfall, so there will be lots of data to analyze. It usually takes some months before the final conclusions are formulated.

So what about hurricane insurance?

It's a nightmare and an embarrassment. It's a nightmare because there is no such thing as "hurricane insurance". What? Shock! Wait! I'm paying an insurance company for something they call hurricane insurance, how can that be?

Insurance works by averaging losses. An insurance company knows, plus or minus, how many house fires or car wrecks there are going to be in a year, calculates an average loss number, and figures out what it has to charge to pay those losses, run their business, and make a profit. If you can count, you can sell that kind of insurance, pretty much.

But, hurricanes don't happen very often, so what's the average? There is no good answer, so they make something up, and justify it with ridiculous computer models, which don't represent reality as much as they allow for higher insurance premiums. And this way, every time a big storm comes along, the number gets bigger and the premiums go up.

That means that insurance companies make record profits, as long as there are no big hurricanes.

The fact is, there is no answer. Hurricanes are not like car wrecks. You're not going to suddenly have double the number of accidents, for example, or fires or people dying. But the insured damage from a single hurricane can be astronomical, even after years of little or no payouts. And then there could be another mega-storm next week. And maybe another after that. Pick up the history book, it happens.

Events that don't happen regularly enough to be averaged are, by definition, not insurable. Everybody in the insurance industry know that, but they are making LOTS of money. So, it doesn't roll off anybody's tongue when the subject of raising rates comes up.

The embarrassing part of this is that legislators in Washington and elsewhere should have done something about this years ago. There is really only one solution, which I detailed in my 2007 Hurricane Almanac - page 176 if you're counting.

After every big disaster, the federal government coughs up untold billions of dollars to help people without insurance, to rebuild things that got smashed, to bail out cities, counties, and states, you name it. That's political reality. I'm not saying it's a bad thing. I'm just saying it's irresponsible to do it on an ad hoc basis every time, when an organized system is possible, which would save money.

The idea is to put a ceiling on the private-insurance-industry losses from big disasters in any given year by creating a federal fund that would kick in when there's a catastrophe. That would lower rates because insurance companies would know what their maximum loss could be, and it would bring in more companies. The threshold would be high enough that private insurance would handle all but the catastrophic events. The system could also be used to force states to enforce better building codes and insurance participation as the cost of entry into the cheaper-insurance system.

There's no appetite for this in Congress because people in Indiana don't want to pay for smashed summer homes at the Jersey Shore. Wake up people in Indiana, you're paying anyway. Do it right, and you'll pay less.

What about the building codes?

Here's the test for New Jersey and other states in the northeast. Are they going to let people rebuild along the beach without doing something to make the buildings stronger? They could start with requiring houses to be connected to their foundations so they don't float down the street and smash into the neighbor's. Making them a little higher would seem to make sense too.

It's not like this has never happened to the Jersey Shore. Google the "Ash Wednesday Storm" in 1962. If the pictures and film weren't grainy and mostly black and white, you think it was Sandy.

So let's see if Governor Christi steps up and sends the lobbyists who hate this kind of thing packing back to Florida where they have a compliant legislature with a perpetual case of hurricane amnesia.

Building standards that are dramatically stronger cost about 10 percent more in South Florida. That means you pay the same, but get Home Depot tile instead of Italian marble. Or, you get a 2700 square foot weekend cottage instead of 3000 square feet. In any case, the solution is easy, you adjust.

And then there's the HELP WANTED sign in the Mayor's window.

I didn't really see the sign, but clearly the Chief of Common Sense position is vacant. I lived in New York up until a couple of years ago, and always thought Mr. Bloomberg was a terrific mayor. But something has gone seriously wrong. From the amateur meteorology before the storm to the marathon fiasco in the aftermath, the flagrant fouls and unforced errors have tarnished what I'm sure is an all-out effort to do what's best for the city and its people. Hopefully they can right that ship.

When the crisis has past and the people are taken care of, the time will come to figure out how the mayor of America's greatest city was so misinformed or misguided that he told people they didn't have to evacuate and then changed his mind 24 hours later... while the storm didn't change at all. In truth, even the various governors who had the right message were late into the game. There's something broken here that needs an urgent fix.

And something about FEMA.

We haven't heard much about the idea of having states take over the functions of FEMA lately. It's like Mother Nature wanted to make it clear that it's an idiotic idea. That's not a political statement, it's just common sense.

FEMA works because it has a mountain of resources to deal with mega catastrophes. Would it somehow be more efficient to have 50 mountains instead of one? Obviously not. State and local government handle things until the scale of the event overwhelms them. Then you need the people, planning, and equipment to literally move a mountain.

That's FEMA. That's the system. And it works, when it's run right.

Fortunately, we have an extraordinarily guy running FEMA. Nobody knows emergency management better than Craig Fugate - he's from Florida so I've seen his work first hand. If anybody can move a mountain, it's Craig.

In fact, it's worth saying, in my experience - which is extensive because I'm old - the people that respond to emergency situations in emergency management, local National Weather Service offices, and the National Hurricane Center are exactly the kind of professional and dedicated people that you would want handling your disaster.

Sometimes maddening red tape and out-of-date rules get in the way, but in my experience, the people inside the government are pushing just as hard to break through the nonsense as we are pulling for the right solution. There are already signs that better answers and better systems will emerge in the long run.

More immediately, however, our full attention and resources need to be focused on the people who are stuck in the cold and dark with a strong nor'easter on the way. For them, it's going to be a very tough week.






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17. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
3:46 AM GMT on November 12, 2012
bnorcross has created a new entry.
16. terstorm
2:29 PM GMT on November 06, 2012
Does Odinslighting realize Bryan Norcross is:
1. from South Florida and broadcast there for decades
2. survived Hurricane Andrew which smashed towns south of Miami to itty-bitty bits
3. actually had his own TV movie about his experience with Andrew (starring the dad from Blossom! true story!)
4. is very, very, very well-aquainted with the insurance industry, as all long-time and native residents of South Florida are?

We appreciate the apology but one should look up someone's background before one slams them. Just saying.
Member Since: October 11, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 27
15. Neapolitan
10:51 AM GMT on November 06, 2012
Repeated apologies for offending are generally much more acceptable if they aren't followed by repetitions of the same offense. "I'm sincerely sorry for calling Bryan an idiot; he deserves more respect. But he is an idiot. Though he does deserve more respect. Though he is an idiot."

Meh. One more to ignore.
Quoting Bryan Norcross:
But, hurricanes don't happen very often, so what's the average? There is no good answer, so they make something up, and justify it with ridiculous computer models, which don't represent reality as much as they allow for higher insurance premiums. And this way, every time a big storm comes along, the number gets bigger and the premiums go up. That means that insurance companies make record profits, as long as there are no big hurricanes.
Amen to that. But I've heard and read of numerous insurance companies boasting that they are so flush with cash right now--thanks to years of increased premiums and relatively few hits--that paying for Sandy won't hurt them. That is, they'll be able to "absorb" Sandy's losses without seriously impacting their bottom lines. (Google this.) I suppose that's good; no one wants to see industry behemoths go under. But it is mind-boggling that an industry exists that can charge you more for living in a high-risk area--in effect making you pre-pay for future hurricane damage--then turn around and charge you still more after a hurricane hits because, of course, you're a high risk. Or simply drop you altogether, forcing you into one of the myriad state programs that thankfully exist as a safety net for those pushed or priced out of the private insurance system.

(They do the same elsewhere. You're under 25? Well, then, your chances of getting in an automobile accident are astronomically large, so you're going to have to pay through the nose for car insurance. A few years go by, with you paying exorbitant premiums all the while. Then it happens: BAM! You get in the accident they predicted you would, and for which you pre-paid. And what does the insurance company do? It raises your rates again, because, you see, you're a high risk!)

So far as the Tea Party-inspired, insanely stupid idea to privatize FEMA, it's very telling that such gibberish went away after Sandy hit. It's one thing to blather on about "socialism" and "individualism". But it's something else entirely to face the reality of the situation: that we're all in this together, and that throwing millions of people under the bus for selfishly ideological reasons would only serve to make this country weaker.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
14. odinslightning
6:06 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Okay, before I make like a bakery truck, I found a couple net articles on insurance that talk about the state (and D.C.) declarations of Sandy not being a hurricane, and it sounds like these are unilateral declarations.

From the Insurance Journal, Hurricanes deductibles won't apply...

NY Daily News: NY state homeowners get reprieve

Well, this sure has become a tangled web from which I will now haul buns.

Sincerely wish the best to everyone who must now recover property damage-wise and emotionally from this storm, whatever anyone ends up calling it.



In a way that is good news. in all honesty i am currently finishing up the handfull of isaac claims i have remaining and i head up to NJ at the end of this week.....based on my reputation and work history/past performance i am being sent to ground zero around where the the eyewall made landfall (AC).

In some instances what you have shown may possibly be good news for some, for others it may not matter. It all depends on what the declarations sheet states.... If they have a "Hurricane" deductible with no mention of "Named Storm" or "Wind Peril" then they may have an all perils deduct, which in most cases is much smaller than a stated peril deductible. However I know there will also be cases where it doesnt matter....Many dec. sheets say "Named Storm" and Sandy was a named storm. Other other dec sheets may state either "Hurricane" or "Named Storm" deduct applies, however somewhere in the policy it will include all wind peril as part of the named "Hurricane" or "Named Storm" deductible.


A lot of this is going to boil down to the specific bound policy and how it is written.

Also keep in mind that although there were high winds in this event based on what i have seen on television a large portion of the damage(s) were caused by tidal surge, which in definition, is part of flood peril......
Member Since: September 3, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 514
13. Barefootontherocks
5:46 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Okay, before I make like a bakery truck, I found a couple net articles on insurance that talk about the state (and D.C.) declarations of Sandy not being a hurricane, and it sounds like these are unilateral declarations.

From the Insurance Journal, Hurricanes deductibles won't apply...

NY Daily News: NY state homeowners get reprieve

Well, this sure has become a tangled web from which I will now haul buns.

Sincerely wish the best to everyone who must now recover property damage-wise and emotionally from this storm, whatever anyone ends up calling it.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 154 Comments: 18748
12. odinslightning
5:30 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
9. odinslightning 4:54 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Thank you for your apologies at comments 9. and 10. and for the explanations about your point of view and where it is coming from.



I am sorry guys. I feel like deleting the post or at least making corrections so it doesn't seem so aggressive....I was wrong in that....It was 4 in the morning and I am extremely exhausted with nothing in front of me but 20 hr days, 7 days a week turning and burning claims for what appears to be a year or two.

The combination of my stress and my fatigue coupled with what I read that Bryan said just set me off. I type lightning fast so believe it or not I had all of that written within 5-10 min or so. I was tired and I felt as if I had to attack back in order to diffuse the misinformation Bryan was stating.

I wonder why he is attacking all of us insurance adjusters and insurance companies like this. We are here to help. It is a horrible situation from VA to Maine and points inbetween + inland to the great lakes. This is an enormous claims volume event and i hope that Bryan and others in the media refrain from stating falsehoods and misinformation. Do they realize people read this stuff, and in turn it makes Insureds want to attack the field adjuster once they go out to a loss location. We can't have misinformation from people in high positions that are respected and heard right now. It just isn't fair. Sandy hasn't been fair to anyone, and to worsen the problem with demonizing us is just shameful, to say the least.

That being said Neo and everyone else is right. I was wrong for saying what i said the way i said it. However my points are valid and I hope Bryan can see the errors of his ways and refrain from doing what he did yesterday ever again.


But, I will take the brunt of the blame. I shouldn't be rude or attack. I should have waited until I got 5 hrs of sleep before I responded. As soon as Bryan reads what I wrote and lets us know he has read it I will remove it. I don't want to change it because I stand responsible, in fact liable, for how i wrote it.

All I hope is that you all understand why I was so mad. It hurts to see people blame us when we do the best we can when all the chips are down for so many people..... And as if our job isn't bad enough, especially when we have Insureds that suffer flood losses and didn't have NFIP bound......We have a tough job and we do the best we can, we are all human and we really try to help..... I wonder if Bryan realizes cat adjusters work 7 days a week, 20+ hours a day for months, if not years, in a row???

I know he is frustrated, I am frustrated, everyone is frustrated. But I assure you all turning insurance into a govt. run institution is the wrong choice,.....Bryan, if you think things are bad now with how things work you should think about what things would be like if the govt. did take over insurance......It would be a complete mess all the time from the word go.....
Member Since: September 3, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 514
11. Barefootontherocks
5:17 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
9. odinslightning 4:54 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Thank you for your apologies at comments 9. and 10. and for the explanations about your point of view and where it is coming from.

Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 154 Comments: 18748
10. odinslightning
5:00 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
The OP's comment contained a number of demonstrable factual errors. I didn't want to delve into those.

Yes, "Here's what I think..." flows both ways, as you say. But I was referring strictly to Good manners. I realize netiquette is unheard of in some circles, but that doesn't mean it's not necessary. And coming into a forum attached to a long, thoughtful blog post written by someone who's earned respect through decades in a particular field and repeatedly calling them stupid is about as ill-mannered as it gets. Here, allow me to list a few:

"Ummm.>>FALSE"

"You apparently dont understand construction....."

"apparently you don't understand how much power water has per square inch"

"Your...soooo wrong"

"YOUR WRONG"

"So, you see, your idea is WRONG"

"you are COMPLETELY misinformed"

"you dont know what in THE HECK you are talking about"

"You don't understand how insurance works"

"you don't understand construction"

"Your gonna feel like a fool"

"your JUST CLUELESS about what is REALLY GOING ON IN THIS LITTLE part of the world..."

Really? The guy claims to be an independent, self-appointed catastrophe adjuster. And perhaps s/he is. But I can tell you from my time in the insurance business that to succeed in that industry, one must have excellent people skills and the ability to communicate in calm, clear, emotionless language. The OP's comment demonstrates neither.


Neo, I want to apologize for the way I said what I said....However, I would like to know how i was incorrect about what I stated. What I stated was correct, and Bryan was incorrect. He is way off base by attacking all of us who have the task of helping everyone. And to attack us with misinformation at this time is a horrible thing to do. People listen to what Bryan says. What Bryan has done is how horrible rumors get started and it only causes problems.

That being said I offer you to prove how I am wrong about my counterpoints. I am correct. I know. If anyone knows about insurance on Weather Underground it is me. That being said I am also very sorry for saying what I had to say in the tone in which I said it. I am extremely tired. I worked the derecho up there 3 months ago. I then turned around and had 100 claims to work in Isaac. And now I have to head up the east. seaboard once again with huge black circles under my eyes to work for what appears to be a full year or two. I am sorry, my fatigue is no excuse for lashing out like I did.... I have no excuse and I hope you and Bryan can forgive me for what I have done.

Finally, all of that being said, please prove to me how I am wrong. You will find what I have said is true. And I hope Bryan refrains from attacking us when there is a complete mess going on. He doesn't know what he is talking about and he is doing it at the worst time possible.
Member Since: September 3, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 514
9. odinslightning
4:54 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
I am sorry guys, I shouldn't have been disrespectful regarding the use of caps and how i said what i said.....

I just want everyone to know a) I was extremely tired when i wrote that.... b) when I read what bryan said i got extremely mad..... it appears as if he is demonizing us insurance adjusters and the insurance industry for what god has created..... he acts as if it is our fault that large storms hit and then he goes on to state falsehoods, once again all of which tend to demonize all of us in the insurance industry.....

After a week of nothing but stress and dismay (mind you with tears in my eyes for those along the eastern seaboard) to see someone such as Bryan Norcross attack us like he did was extremely sad and brought out the worst in me.... I do apologize for how I stated what i stated, however my facts are correct.... And people like Bryan are going to make our long-term job of helping our fellow Americans in the northeast just that much worse. He is a well-respected weatherperson on national television.... Why is he attacking us in the insurance industry like this??? Does he realize his facts are completely incorrect and that he is just complicating matters for all of us by stating falsehoods??

Again I apologize for how I spoke last night (I should say early this morning) in my first response to what Bryan said. I feel extremely bad about doing it. However, in turn I wonder if Bryan feels bad about demonizing all of us that have the task of helping everyone in the wake of what Sandy has done? Apparently based on what he has wrote and what he has said he doesn't care about us, it appears as if he blames us for an act of god.....


I am sorry. I apologize. However please check my facts that I stated...... I am right, and Bryan is extremely wrong for attacking all of us who are here to help....If it wasn't for insurance where would everyone be at this point after Sandy?
Member Since: September 3, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 514
8. zschmiez
4:29 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Ignoring how the message was conveyed, odinslightning is for the most part correct on all the insurance aspects.


I wont underscore anything, but I would add that the notion that insurance companies are making record profits is incorrect. Combined ratios over 100 are pretty abundant.

In fact, without those "made up hurricane loss estimates", many companies would go insolvent, which means even though you paid premiums, they cant pay you money because they are broke.

And yes, the state run pools are a mess. And the only national pool, NFIP, would not pass any of the same regulations that private insurers face from AMB, Fitch, S&P, etc...

Member Since: May 23, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 18
7. Barefootontherocks
4:18 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Re: the insurance discussion: I read in a news article (sorry, no remember where) some states had made agreements with some kind of insurance industry conglomerate that they would not treat Sandy as a hurricane, so these governors are possibly not speaking unilaterally. (Add: Please see additional comment at 13. Seems this is unilateral.)

As far as the NHC post-analysis on Sandy. I watched it - NHC discussions, sats, recon, radar etc. as many bloggers here a wu do with every storm, especially the tropical entities. Most of us who blog here are not mets. Still, I'd guess I am not the only wu member who wouldn't be surprised if Sandy transitioned to sub-tropical before NHC called it. We'll see, won't we?

Bryan Norcross wrote...
"When the crisis has past and the people are taken care of, the time will come to figure out how the mayor of America's greatest city was so misinformed or misguided that he told people they didn't have to evacuate and then changed his mind 24 hours later... while the storm didn't change at all. In truth, even the various governors who had the right message were late into the game. There's something broken here that needs an urgent fix."

As far as the "Help Wanted" sign in Mayor Bloomberg's window. As I said a couple times already in posts here (at wu), he no longer sees through a glass darkly but now sees face to face.

In the Sandy post-analysis, NWS service assessments will likely study where the public, government, etc got their storm info and how they acted or did not act on this info. I hope the media also looks at how they might have done better communicating what was coming, especially in the surge arena.

In a story where nymag.com reports New York City plans an inquiry into post-storm hospital evacuations, the chairman of the NYU Langone hospital board is quoted as saying, "We anticipated twelve-foot surges, which we knew we could handle... We got fourteen-foot surges." This inquiry may also yield some info as to "what happened and what's next" - what's next in the sense of helping improve disaster preparedness nationwide.

'Course what it all boils down to is this: Maybe Alanis Morissette was right... and I got one hand in my pocket and the other one realizes what I wrote in my own wu blog, "Perhaps life with a landfalling storm will always be the same as it was in 2005. And 1900. Storms rule. Mankind must stay out of the way. And he cannot."
bf
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 154 Comments: 18748
6. Neapolitan
4:01 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Quoting Barefootontherocks:
Neo, Agree about the caps. Maybe that person doesn't "think" that but "knows" what s/he is talking about from being involved in insurance. Might have been a good idea to put up his/her own wublog on the subject.

Funny thing, about that glass house stuff. "Here's what I think..." Flows both ways. Rare that two people see eye to eye, and I have observed over my years on earth that humans often criticize loudest their own major faults in others. Subconscious of course.
The OP's comment contained a number of demonstrable factual errors. I didn't want to delve into those.

Yes, "Here's what I think..." flows both ways, as you say. But I was referring strictly to Good manners. I realize netiquette is unheard of in some circles, but that doesn't mean it's not necessary. And coming into a forum attached to a long, thoughtful blog post written by someone who's earned respect through decades in a particular field and repeatedly calling them stupid is about as ill-mannered as it gets. Here, allow me to list a few:

"Ummm.>>FALSE"

"You apparently dont understand construction....."

"apparently you don't understand how much power water has per square inch"

"Your...soooo wrong"

"YOUR WRONG"

"So, you see, your idea is WRONG"

"you are COMPLETELY misinformed"

"you dont know what in THE HECK you are talking about"

"You don't understand how insurance works"

"you don't understand construction"

"Your gonna feel like a fool"

"your JUST CLUELESS about what is REALLY GOING ON IN THIS LITTLE part of the world..."

Really? The guy claims to be an independent, self-appointed catastrophe adjuster. And perhaps s/he is. But I can tell you from my time in the insurance business that to succeed in that industry, one must have excellent people skills and the ability to communicate in calm, clear, emotionless language. The OP's comment demonstrates neither.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
5. Barefootontherocks
2:29 PM GMT on November 05, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
Bryan certainly doesn't need me to defend him; the man has more knowledge of hurricanes in his little toe than most people do in their entire body. But I have to say that your rant is about as disrespectful and incorrect a one as I've ever read here. It seems to me you could have simply said, "I disagree with you, Bryan; here's what I think..." That approach may have worked better for you than a lengthy diatribe filled with demeaning insults, ideological silliness, and all-caps shouting.

I read many of your pre-Sandy comments where you complained about all the "hyping" of the storm. Now that that storm has left nearly 200 dead and many tens of billions in damage in its wake, it's very clear just how wrong you were. You ever read that thing about glass houses and throwing stones? Judge not, lest ye be judged...
Neo, Agree about the caps. Maybe that person doesn't "think" that but "knows" what s/he is talking about from being involved in insurance. Might have been a good idea to put up his/her own wublog on the subject.

Funny thing, about that glass house stuff. "Here's what I think..." Flows both ways. Rare that two people see eye to eye, and I have observed over my years on earth that humans often criticize loudest their own major faults in others. Subconscious of course.
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 154 Comments: 18748
4. Neapolitan
11:31 AM GMT on November 05, 2012
Quoting odinslightning:
ok i will paraphrase some sections and show you why you are completely off base....

[SNIP]
Bryan certainly doesn't need me to defend him; the man has more knowledge of hurricanes in his little toe than most people do in their entire body. But I have to say that your rant is about as disrespectful and incorrect a one as I've ever read here. It seems to me you could have simply said, "I disagree with you, Bryan; here's what I think..." That approach may have worked better for you than a lengthy diatribe filled with demeaning insults, ideological silliness, and all-caps shouting.

I read many of your pre-Sandy comments where you complained about all the "hyping" of the storm. Now that that storm has left nearly 200 dead and many tens of billions in damage in its wake, it's very clear just how wrong you were. You ever read that thing about glass houses and throwing stones? Judge not, lest ye be judged...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13555
3. odinslightning
10:30 AM GMT on November 05, 2012
ok i will paraphrase some sections and show you why you are completely off base....

1) "So what about hurricane insurance?

It's a nightmare and an embarrassment. It's a nightmare because there is no such thing as "hurricane insurance". What? Shock! Wait! I'm paying an insurance company for something they call hurricane insurance, how can that be?"

Ummm....there IS hurricane insurance....It is WIND PERIL, check your homeowners policy, IT IS A NAMED PERIL.... And they don't PAY for HURRICANE INSURANCE....THEY HAVE A HURRICANE/NAMED STORM/WIND DEDUCTIBLE...The reason this exists is BECAUSE LARGE STORMS CAUSE WAY MORE DAMAGE THAN A SMALLER WIND EVENT, AND IT IS HOW THE ACTUARIES BALANCE THE BELL CURVE OF COVERING PERIL (LOSS) WITH MONETARY INTAKE (PREMIUMS).....

2) "Events that don't happen regularly enough to be averaged are, by definition, not insurable. Everybody in the insurance industry know that, but they are making LOTS of money. So, it doesn't roll off anybody's tongue when the subject of raising rates comes up."

Ummm.>>FALSE.....SOME PERILS THAT DONT USUALLY HAPPEN ARE COVERED.....If a meteor falls out of outer space on your covered property IT IS COVERED...and that's just 1 example of MANY perils that ARE covered even though "they dont happen very often"....Depending on what kind of policy you have you are either covered for SPECIFIC NAMED PERILS (crappy policies) OR YOU ARE COVERED FOR ALL PERILS INCLUDING THOSE NAMED AS COVERED however PERILS STATED AS NOT COVERED ARE NOT COVERED>.....An example of a peril NOT COVERED in a wind (Homeowners) policy is FLOOD PERIL.....However, MANY THINGS ARE COVERED IN AN HO-3, EVEN IF THEY AREN'T STATED AS A COVERED PERIL BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOT BEEN DESIGNATED AS AN EXCLUDED PERIL.....



2a) "The idea is to put a ceiling on the private-insurance-industry losses from big disasters in any given year by creating a federal fund that would kick in when there's a catastrophe. That would lower rates because insurance companies would know what their maximum loss could be, and it would bring in more companies. The threshold would be high enough that private insurance would handle all but the catastrophic events. The system could also be used to force states to enforce better building codes and insurance participation as the cost of entry into the cheaper-insurance system. "


Ummm--Bryan, THIS ALREADY EXISTS in the PRIVATELY RUN INSURANCE WORLD....it is called REINSURANCE.....Did you know LLOYDS OF LONDON provides this service ALREADY??? Insurance companies PURCHASE POLICIES FROM LLOYDS TO COVER THEIR PARTICULAR INSURANCE COMPANY IN CASE THE TOTAL LOSSES IN A GIVEN YEAR EXCEED WHAT THE COMPANY CAN PAY OUT WITHOUT GOING BANKRUPT???.....You have a good idea, but IT ALREADY EXISTS and i can tell you HANDING OVER REINSURANCE TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WILL CAUSE A COMPLETE C.F. OF INEFFICIENCY, CORRUPTNESS, AND FAILURE....



3) "The embarrassing part of this is that legislators in Washington and elsewhere should have done something about this years ago. There is really only one solution, which I detailed in my 2007 Hurricane Almanac - page 176 if you're counting."


Ummmm--Your suggesting SEPARATING Hurricane coverage from WIND PERIL and establishing a STATE or FEDERALLY run insurance program for wind peril???.....First of all, wind peril is ALREADY COVERED BY INSURANCE, and Bryan, STATE RUN INSURANCE COMPANIES ALREADY EXIST.....Some examples are--- Citizens of Florida, Citizens of Louisiana, AIUA (Alabama Insurance Underwriters Association).....they are STATE RUN (WIND POOL) INSURANCE COMPANIES....and you know what.....THEY ARE MORE EXPENSIVE AND HAVE HIGHER DEDUCTIBLES than privately run insurance companies....Don't believe me??? Call the DoI's (Dept's of Insurance) in states and ASK THEM.....


4) "After every big disaster, the federal government coughs up untold billions of dollars to help people without insurance, to rebuild things that got smashed, to bail out cities, counties, and states, you name it. That's political reality."


Ummm--Your partially right, they do give out block grants to states for public property....And your right, they also do it for FLOOD COVERAGE....it's called Flood Insurance, run by the National Flood Insurance Program, or better known as NFIP......NFIP does NOT make a profit, nor do they collect enough in premiums to cover flood losses, THEY RUN SEVERE LOSSES AND THEY ARE FUNDED BY TAXATION AND REDISTRIBUTION.....


5) "Here's the test for New Jersey and other states in the northeast. Are they going to let people rebuild along the beach without doing something to make the buildings stronger? They could start with requiring houses to be connected to their foundations so they don't float down the street and smash into the neighbor's. Making them a little higher would seem to make sense too."....


Ummm--OK.....do you know what a sill plate is Bryan? HOUSES ARE ATTACHED TO THEIR FOUNDATION.....Even wood framed houses have SILL PLATES.....CMU (Concrete Masonry Unit) construction USUALLY HAS REBAR IN THE CMU's ATTACHING IT TO THE FOUNDATION....You apparently dont understand construction.....

As far as your suggection about making houses higher, well...THAT HAPPENS....when a FLOOD HAPPENS and houses have to be rebuilt THE NFIP REQUIRES HOUSES BE RAISED ON POST AND BEAM FOUNDATION OR PIER FOUNDATION TO ADJUST FOR AND TO PREVENT FUTURE LOSSES....

Thirdly, apparently you don't understand how much power water has per square inch (pressure)...EVEN IF houses were attached to their foundations 10 times stronger (attached to the sill plates like a brick craphouse) THE HOUSES WOULD JUST COMPLETELY COLLAPSE.....Water packs an AMAZING punch of pressure per square inch.....In some cases HOUSES THAT HAVE FLOATED AWAY CAN BE PICKED UP AND REATTACHED TO THE CONCRETE PAD....Sometimes it is BETTER than a house floats away as opposed to COMPLETE COLLAPSE.....


6) "There's no appetite for this in Congress because people in Indiana don't want to pay for smashed summer homes at the Jersey Shore. Wake up people in Indiana, you're paying anyway. Do it right, and you'll pay less."


Ummm---Your partially right but soooo wrong when you say this....The way insurance works is THE ENTIRE POOL OF RISK (Named Insureds) SHARE THE RISK OF CERTAIN NAMED PERILS....so....lets say State Farm insures 25% of all Named Insureds in America (don't know if they have that share of the market, but just a number for argument sake)....ok....then 3% of the affected people by Sandy are covered by 25% of ALL americans....THATS what keeps costs low....NOT SEGMENTING OFF A CERTAIN PORTION OF THE POPULATION and binding HURRICANE COVERAGE for them.....THAT WILL CAUSE AN INCREASE IN PREMIUMS.....because the OVERALL RISK PER NAMED INSURED IS MUCH HIGHER...

Secondly, in regards to me saying your soooo wrong....here is the political reality of large scale loss events......People in Indiana absorb a VERY SMALL portion of the total losses for say, in this example, Sandy....because they do slightly increase premiums BUT THE DEPARTMENT OF INSURANCE IN INDIANA (in your example) WONT LET A CARRIER RAISE PREMIUMS HIGH ENOUGH TO FAIRLY SPREAD OUT THE COST OF A GIVEN LARGE EVENT OR TO EQUITABLY SHARE THE TOTAL RISK OF COVERED PERILS WITH ALL OF THE RISK POOL (Total number of Named Insureds insured by a given Insurance company). SO what happens is THE AFFECTED AREA(S) have a huge increase in premiums and deductibles because THE CARRIER HAS TO COVER THE LOSS.....

Thirdly, YOUR WRONG.....Making a separate STATE RUN or FEDERALLY RUN insurance company IS A COMPLETE FAILURE.....I have examples..... Citizens of Florida IS A STATE RUN INSURANCE COMPANY..... 8 out of 10 homeowner policies in the State of Florida are CITIZENS (wind pool) policies....The reason for this is 2 fold.... A) the other unaffected states would not let the privately owned insurance companies raise rates to cover the loss(es) so...... B) the State of Florida would not let the privately owned insurance companies raise rates enough to absorb the loss(es) that occurred, SO THE PRIVATELY OWNED INSURANCE COMPANIES PULLED OUT OF FLORIDA......and Bryan, do you know what that did??? Well, PEOPLE IN THE STATE OF FLORIDA HAVE TO HAVE INSURANCE, MOST OF THEM HAVE A MORTGAGE AND THAT MEANS THEY HAVE TO HAVE A FORCED POLICY TO COVER THE BANKS INTEREST IN THE PROPERTY....SO.....THEY WERE FORCED INTO THE WIND POOL, IT IS CALLED CITIZENS AND A) PREMIUMS ARE HIGHER THAN IF YOU COULD BIND COVERAGE THROUGH A PRIVATE INSURANCE COMPANY, AND B) WIND DEDUCTIBLES ARE WAY HIGHER, 5% TO 10% OF SCHEDULE A (DWELLING/STRUCTURE) COVERAGE.......So, you see, your idea is WRONG, it WONT be cheaper, IT WONT BE MORE EFFECTIVE......and C) Most Importantly, whenever the government runs a business SOMEHOW it ALWAYS HAS HUGE LOSS and NEVER RUNS PROPERLY.....because the GOVERNMENT DOESNT HAVE TO BE EFFICIENT, THEY COLLECT TAXES AND THEY DONT MAKE A PROFIT SO WHAT DO THEY CARE IF CITIZENS IS EFFICIENT OR NOT....THEY DONT CARE....



Bryan, I know you mean well, but you are COMPLETELY misinformed (at best) and at worst you dont know what in THE HECK you are talking about.... You don't understand how insurance works, you don't understand construction, and you want the government to take all of this over....

If you would like to say I am wrong and point to the fact that NFIP flood insurance is WAY CHEAPER than a Homeowners policy, know this much.....NFIP NECESSARILY RUNS AT A LOSS, AND THE EXTRA MONEY NEEDED TO PAY OUT CLAIMS COMES FROM REDISTRIBUTION OF TAXES COLLECTED....So, Bryan, ONE WAY OR ANOTHER WE ALL PAY.....The only difference is that private companies run efficiently, and govt. bureaucracies run like crap....



I would suggest you make some friends that can tell you what is REALLY going on Bryan.....Find you a good friend who is a well respected actuary in the insurance industry....You live in Atlanta, they are EVERYWHERE there, Atlanta is the INSURANCE CAPITAL OF THE SOUTHEAST.....Secondly, make some friends that understand construction and have them explain to you how stuff is built.....Thirdly, look into STATE RUN INSURANCE COMPANIES and see WHY YOU ARE SO WRONG with your suggestions.....Call some people that are insured by Citizens of Florida or AIUA or Citizens of Louisiana and ASK THEM HOW MUCH COVERAGE THEY HAVE, WHAT THEIR PREMIUM IS, and WHAT THEIR NAMED STORM/WIND/HURRICANE DEDUCTIBLE IS....and THEN....if you CAN find people that have privately run insurance companies that have bound coverage for them ASK THEM WHAT THERE COVERAGE IS, WHAT THEIR PREMIUM IS, and WHAT THEIR NAMED STORM/WIND/HURRICANE deductible is....


Your gonna feel like a fool in lieu of what you have written above when you find out all of the TRUE facts Bryan,......I don't blame you, I know your well-intentioned, your JUST CLUELESS about what is REALLY GOING ON IN THIS LITTLE part of the world....>And trust me I KNOW..... I AM A PROPERTY ADJUSTER......
Member Since: September 3, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 514
2. lat25five
8:44 AM GMT on November 05, 2012
spot on analysis, especially about the insurance angles. ah the geo-political plot thickens.
Member Since: February 25, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 56
1. whitewabit (Mod)
6:03 AM GMT on November 05, 2012
Good blog!

Even if the power comes back on, the houses that were flooded would still be without heat.. their furnaces would have been underwater as they are usually located in the basement. They would be unusable till they are cleaned and inspected. I would expect that a large number would have to be replaced. This could take months with shortages of parts, and new furnaces, and the number of installers available.
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 364 Comments: 31566

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This is the official blog for Bryan Norcross, Hurricane Specialist at The Weather Channel.

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