After Dorian, ‘Fool Me Twice’ on Flooding

Go Lean Commentary

A Caribbean island – the Northern Bahamas island of Grand Bahama – just got hit with a once in a lifetime Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. Once in a lifetime for a dog (average life span 12 – 15 years), but not for a human (average lifespan 70 – 80 years). No, this island was equally devastated by the following storms:

  • Hurricane Frances (August 2004) – Several feet of water flooded the international airport at Freeport.[28] In the Bahamas, insurers and reinsurers estimated industry insured losses at about $300 million (2004 dollars).[29]
  • Hurricane Jeanne (September 2004) – Because Hurricane Frances struck only about two weeks prior, numerous houses were still patched with plastic sheeting on their roofs, while other residents were still living with neighbors or relatives. Officials urged residents in low-lying homes to evacuate. Shelters were set up at the churches and schools on Abaco Islands, Eleuthera and Grand Bahama.
  • Hurricane Wilma (2005) – The hurricane produced hurricane-force winds[38] and a powerful storm surge, flooding southwestern coastal areas of Grand Bahama and destroying hundreds of buildings. In western settlements on the island of Grand Bahama, graves were washed up with skeletal remains lying in the streets. Damage totaled about $100 million almost entirely on the western half of the island. The central portion of Grand Bahama, including in and around Freeport, reported minor to moderate damage, while the eastern end received little to no damage.[39]

Get it?! Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me!

Who’s fooling who?

The culprit here is Mother Nature, yes, but there are other stakeholders to blame; think:

  • Public Works / Infrastructure – Surely with such a preponderance to flood, storm water management and solutions must be put in place. Think: levies, dykes, sea walls, and parks as storm retention ponds; see VIDEO below.
  • Insurance Companies – Reports are that insurance carriers are reticent to cover flood casualty; see Appendix below.

So ‘Shame on Freeport’ for not remediating the threats of storm surge, in the 15 years since Hurricane Frances. This is NOT the product of learning from the “Cautionary Tales” of the many low-lying urban areas around the world; think New Orleans, Louisiana, USA or the European country of Holland (or The Netherlands).

Flood control is not a luxury for those communities, nor should it be for Grand Bahama Island; it must be embedded in the Way Forward for Freeport. According to a previous blog-commentary, “there is a thesis that flooding could be prevented”. The Dutch experience and their historicity in flood control provides lessons-learned for us; (see the Appendix VIDEO on the lessons from The Netherlands).

More than just low-lying communities are affected; every coastal community needs to be On Guard. See the mitigation plans here being pursued in some communities, with the adoption of spill-ways and retention ponds to handle storm surges:

VIDEOStorm-resistant parks are helping cities defend themselves against flooding

Posted September 17, 2019 – Flooding from storm surges and heavy rainfall can be one of the most devastating effects of storms — and scientists say Climate Change is making those storms worse. Often, engineers build barriers like sea walls and levees to protect coastal cities. But now, there’s a new, prettier approach: public parks that are also storm-resistant.

One of those parks, Hunter’s Point South Park, sits on the edge of New York’s East River. The park boasts rows of seasonal plants, winding paths, and breathtaking views. But that’s not all: the flower beds disguise a ditch and filtration system that captures water and slowly releases it back into the river; synthetic turf absorbs water, too.

“In a big, heavy storm, we almost have a half a million gallons of water being held here, detained, until the tide or the storm leaves, and then it goes right back to the river,” said Tom Balsley, who designed the park with Michael Manfredi and Marion Weiss.

See the full transcript of this episode in this Series, in the link here:

About This Series
In our “Eye on Earth” series, we’re looking ahead to a landmark United Nations Climate Action Summit next week. CBS News is the only broadcast network participating in the “Covering Climate Now” Project, in partnership with 250 other news outlets. We’re highlighting the health of our planet with our own original reporting.

Climate Change is now our reality. One storm after another will always be a threat for Caribbean communities – Rinse and Repeat is more than just a “Shampoo Instruction” here, its our daily weather report. We would be fools not to be prepared. So being On Guard was the motivation for the 2013 book Go Lean…Caribbean. It identified these 4 Agents of Change affecting the Caribbean region …

  • Climate Change
  • Technology
  • Globalization
  • Aging Diaspora

… and prioritized Climate Change as the paramount threat.

This theme – Better Water Management and Flood Mitigation in the wake of Climate Change – aligns with many previous Go Lean commentaries; see a sample list here: After Dorian, The Science of Power Restoration Industrial Reboot – Pipelines and other Public Works Hurricane Flooding – ‘Who Knew?’ Lessons from Colorado: Water Management Arts & Sciences Flint, Michigan – A Cautionary Tale in Water Management Caribbean grapples with intense new cycles of flooding & drought

The Go Lean book addressed the heavy-lighting that Caribbean communities need to do to strengthen their infrastructure for the realities of this new threatening world, where coastal flooding is a constant. There is the need to reboot our Public Works!

The book posits that a Caribbean region Public Works reboot may be too big for any one member-state alone; there is the need to consolidate and confederate a Single Market entity to successfully reform and transform our societal engines. That Single Market entity is the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This is the actual title of one advocacy in the Go Lean book. Consider the specific plans, excerpts and headlines here from Page 175, entitled:

10 Ways to Impact Public Works

1 Lean-in for the Caribbean Single Market entity: Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU)
The CU is chartered to unify the Caribbean region into one single market of 42 million people across 30 member-states, thereby re-engineering the economic engines in and on behalf of the region, including a currency & monetary union. This new eco-system allows for the design, funding and construction of Public  Works and Infrastructural projects. …There are a number of inter-state projects that must be coordinated on the federal level. There will also be projects that are “Too Big for One State” that will be facilitated by the CU. …
2 Union Atlantic Turnpike
3 Pipelines and PCP (Pneumatic Capsule Pipeline)
4 Regional Power Grid
5 Self-Governing Entities (SGE)

The CU will promote and administer SGE’s throughout the region; these include industrial parks, hospitals, prisons, scientific labs, foreign military bases. SGE’s are only subject to CU laws, so they are self-regulated in terms of zoning and monopolies. Thus the SGE’s will yield many Public Works initiatives, spin-off jobs and economic activities.

6 Enterprise Zones
7 Empowerment Zones
8 Monopolies

The UN grants the CU the monopoly rights for an Exclusive Economic Zone, so the focus must be on quality delivery. The CU plan is to liberalize management of monopolies, with tools like ratings/rankings against best practices. Plus technological accommodations for ICT allows for cross-competition from different modes (satellite, cable, phone).

9 Cooperatives
10 Capital Markets

A Single Market and currency union will allow for the emergence of viable capital markets for stocks and bonds (public and private), thereby creating the economic engine to fuel growth and development. This forges financial products for “pre” disaster project funding (drainage, levies, dykes, sea walls) and post disaster recovery (reinsurance sidecars)

In summary, we do not want to be fools by NOT preparing for the next flood. It is coming! This should be a real concern for all Caribbean communities; this especially should be a priority for Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas:

You have been hit with a 20 foot storm surge … twice! Now – no excuses – you must build levies, dykes, sea walls and storm-resistant parks as depicted in the foregoing VIDEO.

Insurance companies will be disinclined to write flood-casualty policies without such a mitigation – they are not fools. Their business model is all about identifying risks, mitigating and managing risk:

  • Hurricane Dorian is “definitely the biggest event” that we have encountered – See story in the Appendix below.
  • “Bahamian property and casualty insurers, which have relatively thin capital bases of their own compared to their developed country counterparts, buy huge quantities of reinsurance annually to help spread/minimize the risks they underwrite”. – Source.
  • “… we need to be aware of things like flooding, prepare accordingly and pay attention to it.” – Source.
  • Reinsurance‘ is a vital industrial strategy for the Caribbean Way Forward; see previous blog-commentary here.

So to Freeport, and the rest of the Caribbean, if you do NOT want to become a Ghost Town, you must engage these mitigations. This is how we can make our homeland a better place to live, work and play, by working together to reboot our infrastructure to ensure that after the inevitable storms, we can still rebuild, restore and recover. 🙂

About the Book
The book Go Lean…Caribbean serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU), for the elevation of Caribbean society – for all member-states. This CU/Go Lean roadmap has these 3 prime directives:

  • Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus to ensure public safety and protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines, including a separation-of-powers between the member-states and CU federal agencies.

The Go Lean book provides 370-pages of turn-by-turn instructions on “how” to adopt new community ethos, plus the strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to execute so as to reboot, reform and transform the societal engines of Caribbean society.

Download the free e-Book of Go Lean … Caribbean – now!

Who We Are
The movement behind the Go Lean book – a non-partisan, apolitical, religiously-neutral Community Development Foundation chartered for the purpose of empowering and re-booting economic engines – stresses that reforming and transforming the Caribbean societal engines must be a regional pursuit. This was an early motivation for the roadmap, as pronounced in the opening Declaration of Interdependence (Pages 12 – 13):

i. Whereas the earth’s climate has undeniably changed resulting in more severe tropical weather storms, it is necessary to prepare to insure the safety and security of life, property and systems of commerce in our geographical region. As nature recognizes no borders in the target of its destruction, we also must set aside border considerations in the preparation and response to these weather challenges.

xi. Whereas all men are entitled to the benefits of good governance in a free society, “new guards” must be enacted to dissuade the emergence of incompetence, corruption, nepotism and cronyism at the peril of the people’s best interest. The Federation must guarantee the executions of a social contract between government and the governed.

xvi. Whereas security of our homeland is inextricably linked to prosperity of the homeland, the economic and security interest of the region needs to be aligned under the same governance. Since economic crimes … can imperil the functioning of the wheels of commerce for all the citizenry, the accedence of this Federation must equip the security apparatus with the tools and techniques for predictive and proactive interdictions.

xxiv. Whereas a free market economy can be induced and spurred for continuous progress, the Federation must install the controls to better manage aspects of the economy: jobs, inflation, savings rate, investments and other economic principles. Thereby attracting direct foreign investment because of the stability and vibrancy of our economy.

Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.


Appendix – Title: $500m Dorian Payout ‘Biggest I Have Seen’
By NEIL HARTNELL, Tribune Business Editor
Insurers yesterday estimated that Hurricane Dorian claims payouts could “easily exceed” $500m, with one top executive revealing: “It’s definitely the biggest event I’ve ever seen.”

Tim Ingraham, Summit Insurance Company’s president, told Tribune Business that the industry wanted the damage assessment and claims process “to be moving a lot quicker” but had been frustrated by the difficulties associated with accessing the parts of Abaco hardest hit by the category five storm.

His counterpart at RoyalStar Assurance, Anton Saunders, added that the entire Bahamian property and casualty industry was “trying every possible solution” to get loss adjusters into Marsh Harbour and the surrounding Abaco cays so that the process of damages and claims assessment could begin in earnest more than a week after the battering from Dorian.

Pledging that claims will be “fairly paid” based on each individual insurance contract, Mr Saunders reassured Bahamian homeowners and businesses that RoyalStar and the other local underwriters would “stand by them through thick and thin”.

He also urged clients “not to be alarmed” by the release from AM Best, the international insurance credit rating agency, that placed four property and casualty insurers – Bahamas First, RoyalStar, Security and General Insurance and Summit – “under review” as a result of the likely nine-figure claims payouts that will result from the devastation inflicted by Dorian.

“There’s going to be a significant number of people uninsured or underinsured. In the past a large number of persons have been underinsured, but we can’t speak to this loss precisely because it’s very difficult to get into … ”

Mr Ingraham and Mr Saunders differed on whether Dorian’s payout will impact Bahamian property and casualty premium rates moving forward, with the former arguing it was likely to contribute to an increase and the latter deferring an answer until RoyalStar spoke to its reinsurers.

See the full story here, posted September 10, 2019 and retrieved September 18, 2019 from:

Related Story: Insurer’s Flood Claims Equal 30% Of Profits


Appendix VIDEO  – Sea change: How the Dutch confront the rise of the oceans –

Posted August 27, 2017 – Windmills are more than just a traditional part of the Dutch landscape; they have played a key role in the war the Dutch have been waging against the ocean for the past thousand years. Our Cover Story is reported by Martha Teichner. (This story was previously broadcast on May 21, 2017.)

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