In California, private firefighters were out fighting blazes and spraying fire retardant around their ultra-insured clients' million-dollar homes:
It's available only to customers of AIG Private Client Group, which serves affluent individuals and their families. The average customer spends $19,000 a year on the insurance, which may also cover yachts, art collections and ransom demands.
At those rates, they'd better send a darned truck out to my house to fight my personal fire. But I don't mind if they catch my neighbor's fire while they're there.
While protecting the AIG client's home there Monday night, [Firefighter Sam] Crays was able to stop a blaze next door as well. "We love putting out fires,'' Crays said.
AIG's Wildfire Protection Unit is in some ways a throwback to the early days of firefighting.
Until 1865, when the Metropolitan Fire Bridge Act was passed in the U.K., insurance companies had their own firefighters and were responsible for protecting their customers' homes and other buildings. That was the case in other countries as well, including the U.S. Customers were given medallions to place on their homes, and firefighters would look for their insurance company's "firemark'' before extinguishing a blaze.
Private fire companies, of course, were the only fire fighters available at the time. Now we're talking about service above and beyond basic fire coverage enjoyed by everyone in the Golden State. And if wildfires continue to be a major issue in California, the technologies used by the rich are bound to trickle down and put out the fires of the less well-to-do eventually.
Reihan Salam covers the story, and says he prefers the idea of "leveling up" and finds the notion of a ceiling on fire protection for the wealthy unsavory:
This represents a clash of two egalitarianisms, and it is a conflict that arises in many social democracies. If a wealthy person wants to pursue exotic medical treatments on her own dime, does she have a right to do so? Or should she be legally prevented from doing so on grounds of offense against equality?
reason on fire here.