Letter from the Editor

A Test of Resilience

By: | October 15, 2013

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected].

The business owners of Seaside Heights, N.J., must think they are cursed.

Within a year of a historic superstorm that destroyed that borough’s boardwalk, yet another disaster struck, a quick-moving fire that eliminated more than 20 businesses in a matter of hours and caused between $5 million and $10 million in damage.

This new disaster was actually traced to Superstorm Sandy. Officials said electrical wires damaged by exposure to salt water and sand caused the blaze.

Insurance is built in layers, as we know, and insurance will respond to this disaster as it always responds.

But what is also built in layers are the stores of human resilience. We never know what our capacity to recover is until we have it tested.

Superstorm Sandy was a heavy blow. We now know from news reports that the crucial summer tourist season in New Jersey was OK, but not great.

Although the state spent $25 million on its “Stronger than the Storm” campaign, rentals and revenue were down.

Some beach communities reported reduced beach badge revenue in the double digits. Property rental professionals were poked with a two-pronged fork.

On the one hand, there were fewer properties to rent. On the other, there was less demand.

Emotionally, the fire that struck the newly rebuilt Seaside Heights boardwalk comes off as an injustice. But it’s not. It is merely an example that sometimes we get hit twice when we feel that once is plenty.

New Jersey’s ocean breezes are a timeless balm. Seaside and New Jersey will come back yet again. There is resilience there in layers.

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