For those of you not in the exciting world of commercial insurance, this tidbit has been making the rounds. It seems the fertilizer plant that exploded in West, Texas two weeks ago carried a mere $1 million in general liability coverage.
To put this in context, I myself carry a $1 million dollar umbrella policy to cover my one home and two little cars in the event of a worst case scenario. The nice folks at USAA sold it to me. Not crazy expensive.
The idea that a plant with hundreds of employees and volatile, on-site chemical storage requirements deemed itself to have precisely the same level of exposure as I do strikes me as -- let's not overstate things here -- PROFOUNDLY stupid. And negligent, though it seems, not criminally so.
So, while I’ve cheered along with the rest of the right-thinking world as Texas’s economy picks up speed and over-regulated, tree-hugging California continues to hemorrhage jobs, it seems that the left has their issue served up on a silver platter: “How can you say regulation is a bad thing? Look at what these lunatics did when left to their own devices?”
What I find additionally interesting that there were no fewer that four government agencies (State Health Services, the Texas State Chemist, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the Texas Agriculture Department) that had some jurisdiction over the plant. Not one required a basic umbrella policy. Now the taxpayers will be footing the roughly $100 million dollar bill.
So what’s the answer? How does one thread the needle? What defines sensible regulation?