December 2, 2006

Future Shlock

Okay, it's time to divulge a deep dark secret I've been keeping. I have sordid ties to the insurance industry.

What were you waiting to hear? We don't know each other THAT well.

My sister has worked at the corporate level of insurance for decades. In the past year I wrote the website for a brokerage, and have toiled in the industry as a student.

What am I getting to? I'm getting to what everyone eventually has to get to. Things like global warming and the pandemics and shortages and other meltdowns are going to affect you in ways you could never imagine. In today's Washington Post, there is an interesting article on an issue I started researching after Katrina last year. Guess what? Katrina has had an impact on you.

Start listing all the trendiest places to covet a home. Malibu? Virginia Beach? Vancouver Island? The Gulf Coast? Guess what? Insurers will no longer touch you. They are paid to be psychics - they assess risk, and deliver the answer with a finality that make your investment, or your inheritance, vanish overnight. Just like that.

Before you start thinking "well, I don't have anything to worry about - I don't own a beachfront condo/hotel/mansion", think again. Places that were once considered totally safe have fallen under new rulings that *instantly* lob them into the real estate netherworld.

As weather patterns change, you can argue all you like whether it's manmade ozone problems or nature going about her business. But the bottom line is that insurers are going to protect their bottom line. We all could be crowding onto the few square inches left on the map that are considered out of hurricane/earthquake/flood/twister/drought/polygamy territory. Okay, I made that last one up. But that's storming back with a vengence as well. See here. Natural disasters never cease.

My point is to put everyone on a smug alert. Things can happen to you. You can get lung cancer even if you don't smoke. You can drop dead of a heart attack running a marathon. You can lose your home even if it's not in Kennebunkport. And worst of all, you could have someone decide with the stroke of a pen, or an insurance table, that the biggest asset you have is worthless. There will be repercussions for all of us, and they are happening now. 'Them' is us, and 'later' is now.

Forget waiting for a planet realignment. We need a priority realignment.


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