We’ve all read stories or seen movies about people pooling their resources to overcome a calamity. Maybe it’s a shipwreck on a deserted island, a plane crash on some remote mountaintop, or a city under siege.
Wherever they are and whatever the cause, the people in peril realize that they have a limited supply of food and that they must ration it carefully if they hope to survive until they’re rescued or can make their way to safety.
In many of these stories, true or imaginary, some people begin to feel that their equal allotment of food simply is not enough. They must have more.
They may suspect that others secretly are getting a larger share, or that others would take more if they could, so they convince themselves that they might as well cheat because everyone else is going to anyway.
Greed gets the best of them and the plunder begins.
Later it’s discovered that the food that would have lasted days or weeks longer, if only everyone had been satisfied with their equal rations. And there’s nothing left for anyone.
This is, essentially, the story of the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association (TWIA).
TWIA was established as the insurer of last resort for Gulf Coast homeowners with wind and hail damage, but plaintiffs attorneys have gotten greedy and taken more than their fair share.
Since Hurricane Ike struck four years ago, TWIA has paid out more than $2.5 billion, half of it in a class action settlement for slab claims.
TWIA has forked over $600 million in legal fees, more than half of which went to the Mostyn Firm in Houston, which continues to send out mailings encouraging homeowners to sue the association.
Mostyn’s done well for itself.
One day, in the not too distant future, the rest of us are going to discover that there’s nothing left.