Ever since 9-11, when terrorist hijackers flew separate airplanes into each of the twin towers, the insurance industry has been scrambling to cover its butt.Little wonder. The original claims of the landlord there, Larry Silverstein, came to the tune of $7.1 billion. He didn’t collect nearly that much because the insurance companies didn’t want to cough up that kind of money, so they fought him bare knockles to a lower sum.
Cross-Posted at The New York CrankNo surprise there. Whether it’s health insurance, car insurance or office building insurance, insurance companies hate to fork over the moolah. To paraphrase a line of advertising — from an insurance company advertising campaign, as it happens — not paying claims is what you do.Most property insurance, whether it’s for homeowners, home renters, or for commercial office buildings, have “exclusions” for incidents like Al Queda or ISIS blowing up the premises. If you want to be covered against acts of terrorism, you have to buy, and pay through the nose for extra coverage to override that exclusion.Fine. But now along come a bunch of Republican presidential wannabes, drumming up a “war” on ISIS. Or ISIL. Or Daesh. Whatever the hell you want to call it. Rand Paul says we should declare war on them. Jeb! Bush says we should declare war on them. The Donald, forgetting all the property he'd have to carry additional coverage on, also says declaring war on ISIS is a good idea. Ted Cruz seems to believe the war is already declared.Moreover, the usual suspects are also rousing the rabble to demand a declaration of war, including pundit Charles Krauthammer and the conservative Washington Journal.Meanwhile, back in insurance company officer towers, the insurance biggies are rubbing their hands together with glee. See, if it’s determined we’re “at war” with ISIS, instead of merely trying to slap them down and stomp on them like the lowlife terrorist enterprise they are, you’re going to need a third kind of insurance, “act of war insurance,” to cover your home or office building. That's in addition to fire insurance. And terrorism insurance. Which means more money will jump out of your pocket and into the insurance companies’ treasuries.Corporation will also pay. And since property values of skyscrapers and office parks can run into the billions, they’ll have to pay a pretty penny.That is, they’ll have to pay unless they’re foolish enough to think they can send the bill to Jeb!, Ted, The Donald, and Charlie the K, and wait to see which of them wants to part with five or six billion bucks. Any guesses about whether any of them will volunteer to write the check?