“Fight Against Stupidity And Bureaucracy”
Something a bit lighter for today’s blog.
We’re going to talk about the end of the world!
One thing that you are sure of these days if you are in business is being asked stupid questions. Unfortunately, rather than saying exactly what you think, you have to bite you lip or maybe as in this case give a tongue-in-cheek answer.
This stupid question is in the form of an email from a guy who has bomb shelters on his mind. I don’t know whether he has been inspired by the Myan calendar ending on December 21st this year, the threat of a large asteroid hurtling towards our planet, or the outbreak of World War 3, but he’s definitely worried about the end of the world and thinking about how best to prepare.
It’s also a good example of how stupid people ALWAYS over complicate everything, and that is particularly true of bureaucrats who needlessly over complicate our lives with regulations and then employ other knuckleheads to enforce them.
Here it is. Enjoy.
“Some people who believe the world will end soon are building (or having them built) enormous underground shelters that rival traditional homes in cost and amenities.
I’m looking for insurers to discuss insurance for these elaborate shelters.
What’s insurable? What’s not? What if the shelter is adjacent to your home or at a separate location? Etc, etc.”
Dear Mr XXXXX
I’ve been in mortgages and finance for over 20 years, and have fought with insurance companies on a regular basis over things like “it’s on the top of a hill, it doesn’t need flood insurance” and “it’s made of steel and has a steel roof, the fire risk is about zero” and so forth.
First, if the world DOES end (right) it will be considered an “act of god” and the insurance company won’t pay off, assuming they survive the end of the world in the first place. (Betcha you didn’t know insurance companies believe in God.)
Second, it is a pretty sad bomb shelter that needs to be insured against ANYTHING – I mean this thing is supposed to take a direct hit by a nuclear weapon without so much as rattling the silverware inside, so what else would you POSSIBLY need to insure it against? Termites?
Third, insurance companies have a very difficult time rating unconventional structures. While they could rate the masonry construction part, an underground bomb shelter isn’t going to have hurricane clips on the roof trusses (rate goes up), isn’t going to have hurricane shutters for the windows (rate goes up) and likely has a flat (instead of gable) roof (rate goes up). The fact that the flat roof is made of six foot thick steel reinforced concrete isn’t important, the only thing that is important to them is that it is flat.
If the structure is financed, the lender is going to insist on insurance. Evidently the banks also do not expect to let a minor, trivial event like the end of the world interfere with their lending policies and business practices. If the world does end, they fully expect to be the loss payee, notwithstanding.
If it is adjacent to the owner’s home it becomes an accessory structure. If it is in another location, it would be considered a vacant second home (because renting it out sort of defeats the purpose), and insurance companies consider that very risky, and rate accordingly.
The “fire” portion of the policy is based on the distance from the nearest fire hydrant or fire station. The absolute and total lack of flammability of the bomb shelter isn’t as important as the distance.
Personally, I’d just build it, and leave the banks and insurance companies completely out of it.
They’re not going to be any help.
Have you had similar experiences? Send them along. Let the world know what is happening before it is too late.