Poor teenagers who escape the welfare trap do so by following a three-part strategy: Graduate from high school, avoid drugs and don't get pregnant. Affluent owners of oceanfront property could avoid relying on welfare for the rich by also following three rules: Don't build unless you can afford either to pay high insurance rates or to lose it all; build a simple beach structure rather than a palace; if you do build, take advantage of improved (but much more costly) construction advances that decrease risk.
Repetitive flood insurance losses have displayed the difficulty that officials within a democracy have in saying no. Private insurance companies require significant premium increases on properties at risk, or require property owners to take preventive measures as a condition of writing coverage. If no changes occur, companies cancel policies -- but governments rarely have the will to do that.
Pay off once, shame on the weather or maybe on the builder; pay off twice or even six times, shame on those who write enabling laws and regulations. The solution: Those who build or buy in hazardous areas should pay the market cost of insurance. We should not encourage reckless activities among the poor and thus lead them into temptation, and we should not lure the rich, either. Let's hope the Senate understands this.
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