An $82 Billion Dollar Forecast by CRAIG JAMES I will readily admit I know next to nothing about how insurance companies estimate risk and establish rates, but I just have to share with you an article published on November 14, 2010 in a newspaper in Sarasota, Fla., about the insurance industry and hurricane risk prediction. The “prediction” was created in just four hours by four hurricane forecasters and turned out to be worth $82 billion to the insurance industry that had just suffered a $40 billion dollar loss due to Hurricane Katrina. Apparently, on a Saturday in October 2005, a company called Risk Management Solutions (RMS) brought four handpicked scientists together in a hotel room in Bermuda. The scientists all believed global warming was causing an increase in the number and intensity of hurricanes. They, along with RMS, also shared a very disputed belief that computer models could accurately predict such a change. Instead of using 120 years of history to calculate the average number of storms each year, RMS used the scientists’ forecast as the basis for a new computer model that would estimate storms for the next five years. This change in risk estimation “created an $82 billion gap between the money insurers had and what they needed, a hole they spent the next five years trying to fill with rate increases and policy cancellations.” RMS justified the change based upon what they called “scientific consensus.” True, it was a consensus, but among only four people who were highly biased. Based upon four hours of what one of the forecasters called “winging it,” they estimated that the historical long-term average of 0.63 major hurricanes striking the U.S. every year would now be 0.90 due to global warming. That seems like a small change until you realize that it is a 45% increase in the risk of a catastrophe. Plugged into a complex software program used to estimate hurricane losses, that number caused the reinsurance companies to triple their rates to the retail insurance companies. Since the Florida Insurance Commission would not let the retail insurance companies pass along rate hikes that high to homeowners, many insurance companies pulled out of the state, leaving an estimated 300,000 Floridians without insurance. Today, two of the […]
The dynasty continues. Rockford entered the Michigan Water Polo Association state championships at West Zeeland, who was ranked fourth in the state, on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12-13. But by the time the final whistle blew, the Rams were once again on top, claiming their second consecutive state championship, their seventh in eight years, and their eighth in 11 years. Four Rams received All State honors. Junior Bryan Wasberg and senior Jeff Schmitt were named second team All State, while junior Eric Chisholm and senior Pat Fase were named first team All State. In addition, Fase’s stellar goalie play throughout the weekend earned him a share of the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award. “I’m so proud of every member of the team,” beamed Fase. “We had a small senior class to provide leadership, but it was the underclassmen, including the entire bench, who did the hard work it took to win the championship.” Rockford opened the tournament with a convincing 9-2 win against a scrappy team from Ann Arbor Pioneer. Six different Rams scored goals, including two each by Wasberg, Chisholm and junior Alex Savage. But it was the Ram defense, led by Chisholm with three steals, and Fase’s goaltending that made the difference. In the semifinals, Rockford squared off against the top ranked team in the state, Ann Arbor Huron. The River Rats feature the state’s top scorer, senior David Hasegan, the other co-MVP of the tournament. Rockford jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period. But Huron, on the strength of two quick goals by Hasegan, stormed back to take the lead in the second. After a Rockford timeout, Chisholm drove to the net, took a pass from Savage, and flipped in an amazing no-look shot to tie the score. The next time down the pool, Chisholm found Schmitt open for a score that restored the Rockford lead. Huron scored three more goals, but Rockford answered each time, and hung on for an 8-7 victory. The story of the game was the team’s defense on Hasegan. Wasberg wrestled with him for most of the game, with Chisholm sprinting back on defense to help out, collecting five steals for his efforts. And when the defense didn’t hold, Fase made several brilliant stops […]
by BETH ALTENA Perfect fall weather graced a service at Veteran’s Memorial Park, 5747 Jupiter Avenue in Plainfield Township, one of many Veteran’s Day services around West Michigan. Speaking on his and his wife’s 50th anniversary, Township Supervisor George Meek, a four-year veteran himself, asked the crowd to remember and thank veterans for their service. He shared that he had four grandsons enter the service in 2010. Speaker Senator Mark Jansen also urged listeners to take the time to thank those who serve our country and said veterans come in “all shapes and sizes.” He has a nephew in Afghanistan in his fourth tour of duty. Jansen said veterans are “sons, daughters, husbands and wives.” He praised those who step up to serve our country. “I believe in the Bible and Jesus was a servant. He led by serving,” Jansen stated. Jansen listed countries where the United States has seen military combat, and noted that younger listeners wouldn’t recognize the references to some of the countries. “People are trying to take away our freedom, safety and are trying to harm us,” Jansen said. “On 9/11 they came to our soil.” He said Flight 93 was an example of heroism, and the people who took the plane down in a cornfield to save the lives of many others were true heroes. Heroes are those who have faith, vision and courage as well as the desire to protect those who cannot protect themselves, Jansen described. “Tonight is about all of that, and to thank them. We know evil is in this world for generations. There was evil in the Bible and there is evil today. Veterans are people willing to say yes and to defend us.” “Find someone who has a veteran in their family and thank them,” Jansen continued. “Tonight I hope and pray the generations to come will follow in their footsteps of those heroes, and I ask God to bless this nation.” Meek shared the history of Veteran’s Day. “On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the first world war ended, and in 1919 the country celebrated Armistice Day on November 11 as a day of solemn pride. The holiday was celebrated thus until 1953, when a […]
An SUV collided with a semi in Oakfield Township on Wednesday afternoon, Nov. 10, sending two people to area hospitals. The accident occurred around 3:45 p.m. at the intersection of M-57 and Lincoln Lake Road. The driver of a Ford Explorer was northbound on Lincoln Lake Rd., when he was hit by a semi that was eastbound on 14 Mile Road (M-57). The driver of the SUV was airlifted to Butterworth, and the driver of the semi was taken by ambulance to a nearby hospital. Both Oakfield and Courtland Fire and Rescue, and the Kent County Sheriff’s Department assisted the Michigan State Police at the scene. The accident is still under investigation.