Hurricanes hardly ever happen in Florida, at least since Katrina and Wilma gave the Sunshine State a double wallop back in 2005. And now we know why. Town Hall reports that Gov. Charlie Crist, who is campaigning for the U.S. Senate, told a group of real estate agents about a prayer note he put in the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in 2007.
Crist's note read: "Dear God, please protect our Florida from storms and other difficulties. Charlie." And it seems to have worked, since Florida has avoided major storms each year since then. Even Hurricane Bill, which ultimately wound up in the Canadian Maritimes, had the good sense to bypass Florida. Charlie didn't get to the Wailing Wall last year or this year, but he did have others leave similar notes.
So why have insurance if you have this kind of an "in" with the Almighty? During Crist's tenure the largest home insurer, State Farm, is leaving Florida. The Sunshine State is undercapitalized by at least $8 billion if the proverbial Big One hits, leaving taxpayers and bondholders on the hook for insured losses.
Some say Crist has been lucky, while others believe he does have God on his side. But one thing is clear. The Crist/Creator model is being exported to other states, and could possibly go national, which isn't good news for insurers.
Texas is currently underinsuring itself, leaving to chance the possibility that its coastline will be hit by another major storm like last year's Hurricane Ike, which did more than $24 billion worth of damage, largely to the Galveston area.
As previously noted, Crist is running for the Senate and, with God backing him, how can he lose? If he wins, he'll add his voice to a measure proposed by fellow Florida Rep. Ron Klein that would sell bonds backed by the federal government to pay for insured losses from hurricanes, earthquakes and other disasters.
That would help states like Florida, Texas and, of course, California, but it would take profits out of insurers' pockets, particularly reinsurers whose big bucks back up these events. It could also put a further drain on the already leaky federal budget.
If Crist's faith-based initiative pans out, many of us will visit the Wailing Wall - sooner rather than later.