Less government regulation isn’t always a good thing
May 6, 2013 Leave a comment
On April 17, 2013 an explosion at the West Fertilizer Plant in West, Texas (just outside of Waco, Texas) killed 14, injured over 200 more and caused millions of dollars of property damage. The video of the explosion is breathtaking to say the least.
Given that fertilizer manufacturing is an inherently dangerous activity, you would expect that the government would require anyone engaging in this business to carry insurance sufficient to pay for any damage the plant created. You would be wrong.
According to several new stories, the plant carried a single one million dollar liability policy. So what will happen to the hundreds of people injured and the families of the deceased? They are basically out of luck. The company will likely interplead the one million dollars into a local court and then file bankruptcy. End result, the people that caused this horrible event will walk away without being held accountable.
Do not for one second think this is limited to the fertilizer industry. Nursing homes in Mississippi are typically under insured in the same manner. It is not uncommon for nursing homes here to carry a single $50,000 liability policy. If a judgment is entered against them in excess of that amount, many are willing to simply file bankruptcy and walk away.
Legislation to require a minimal amount of liability coverage for nursing homes never saw the light of day at the Mississippi Legislature. Lobbyist for the nursing homes were successful is shutting it down. Therefore, instead of the nursing homes being held accountable for the damage they create, the burden is shifted to the taxpayer because the injured are typically Medicaid or Medicare recipients.
You are required by law in Mississippi to carry liability insurance to drive a car, but you are free to operate a fertilizer plant or nursing home with no insurance. Does that make sense?