NIMBY Versus NIMIC

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Not In My Backyard vs Not In My Insurance Company

For many decades community leaders were called NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) when opposing a facility that would cause environmental and public health damages. They were told that they were reacting emotionally, stifling progress and or the waste/facility needs to go somewhere. Or local leaders hurting the economy, we need the jobs and so stop complaining about public health hazards or environmental destruction that community leaders are being just selfish.

There were full out attacks on innocent people trying to find a way to protect themselves from environmental chemicals and to convince corporations to look beyond the dinosaur aged technology and moved to other safer ways to provide the same goods or services.

Today the insurance agencies are working hard to stop, “to exclude” coverage from earthquakes in Pennsylvania caused by fracking. NIMIC stands for Not In My Insurance Company. The contrast in reactions from the public is striking with the exception of the State of Pennsylvania Insurance Department (PID) who is opposing such exclusions. Those with money and don’t live near such destructive practices say the insurance industry must protect themselves from huge liabilities. It make sense that they would want to create an exclusion in their policies.

Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. has become the first major insurance company to say it won’t cover damage related to a gas drilling process that blasts chemical-laden water deep into the ground. Their memo reads: “After months of research and discussion, we have determined that the exposures presented by hydraulic fracturing are too great to ignore. Risks involved with hydraulic fracturing are now prohibited for General Liability, Commercial Auto, Motor Truck Cargo, Auto Physical Damage and Public Auto (insurance) coverage.”

Yet when innocent people with no stake in the leasing or process say it is too great of a risk to frack in or around our community they are dismissed as NIMBYs. The insurance industry did their studies assessed the risks and said no. Community leaders including the community in TX who banned the process entirely from their borders. State legislation was introduced to allow local bans on fracking only to be overturned by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott who signed a law that prohibits bans of hydraulic fracturing altogether and makes it much harder for municipal and county governments to control where oil and gas wells can be drilled.

This is a blatant contradiction that once again demonstrates the bias against the American People and for the corporate polluters and their associated family of corporations. There was no law passed that says insurance companies must provide coverage for associated damages from earthquakes, poisoned water, air and public health impacts. Maybe just maybe we should make a rule, decision or law that says if an insurance company does their risk assessment and finds that the risks are too great for them to participate or provide coverage then the facility, process . . . thing cannot move forward at any costs.

Since the majority of our stae and federal health departments or departments of environmental regulations can’t ever find a risk they can’t explain away, then we should follow the risk assessments of the Lloyd’s of London. If Lloyd’s of London says it’s too risky then it is. A simple way to protect the American People.