Hurricane Andrew in Florida was amazing to me. Within 60 days you
would hardly have known that a hurricane had gone through, yet it looked
like somebody had dropped a hyrdrogen bomb the week after Andrew. The
devastation covered tens of thousands of houses.
How was it done?
Well one trick was this. In Florida, the state has a government up in
Talahassee. Among the Cabinet is an Insurance Commissioner. He ruled
that all Hurricane Insurance claims for the State of Florida in the
Disaster Area had to be settled in 30 days by the insurance companies.
Penalties were loss of license to operate and triple awards of claims and
values to the claimants if they failed to do so.
You should have heard the squealing from the Insurance Companies.
Normally they make claimants get lawyers, fight them in courts for five
or six years and the usual cheating run around. In this case, they were
going mad trying to get adjusters. They were hiring claims adjusters in
all of the 50 states of the USA to inspect houses here in Dade County.
At the end of the month, they were basically just writing cheques for
total losses. The enormity of the disaster was too big.
What this did for South Florida in the Hurricane Andrew disaster area,
was start the biggest economic building boom you have ever seen.
Contractors, carpenters and stuff were driving in from all over the USA
because the demand was so high. Insurance money was flowing, semi
trailer conveys of building supplies coming in. The re-construction went
on day and night by portable generators.
What happened was, that by the end of two months, it was hardly
noticable that Hurricane Andrew had ever hit Dade County. Everything was
back up and normal, business as usual and an economic construction boom
you couldn't believe.
Right now, the GOB has done everything right. So far, the response has
been timely, prompt and the whole Hurricane thing has been a model of
what I believe most Central America countries are going to envy. True it
is small scale, but then so is the GOB and the resources. Lets go one
further. Let the Cabinet pass a law stating that all Hurricane Insurance
claims have to be settled by November 5th, 2000 and then state
penalties. In other words keep the economic engine moving, provide
employment, cash flow and get things back to normal in the fastest time
possible. We can take a lesson from Florida, it worked there, why not in