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Why Are People 'Outraged' That Private Firefighters Saved Kim and Kanye's Home?

Getting upset over private firefighters does a whole lot less good than the firefighters themselves.

MEGA/NewscomMEGA/Newscom"People are outraged" that celebrity couple Kanye and Kim Kardashian West hired a team of private firefighters to save their home in Hidden Hills, California, claims a Thursday headline from Business Insider.

The headline-writing community certainly seems outraged. "Kim Kardashian's Private Firefighters Expose America's Fault Lines," blares The Atlantic. "As California's Wildfires Raged, The Ultra-Rich Hired Private Firefighters," announces HuffPost. Vice puts it bluntly: "Rich People Pay for Private Firefighters While the Rest of Us Burn."

The Wests, who have evacuated the area, did benefit from the work of private firefighters. According to TMZ, a private crew used hoses and dug ditches to save the couple's $60 million mansion. The firefighters' efforts reportedly helped save other homes in the neighborhood as well, as a fire at the West mansion likely would have spread.

Business Insider notes that the couple probably doesn't have a team of firefighters literally on call. It's more likely that the firefighters are a service they pay for as part of their fire insurance. These sorts of policies are not cheap—CBS News reports they can cost between $2,500 and $8,000 a year—and they're often available only to people with expensive houses.

Much of the criticism aimed at such policies seems to stem from the belief that it's unfair for rich people to get extra help saving their homes. "Firefighters are consistently ranked the most beloved public servants, not just because they look good on calendars but because they treat everyone equally," historian Amy Greenberg tells The Atlantic. "Rich people don't get their own 'better' firefighters, or at least they aren't supposed to."

But the wildfires raging through California are putting a massive strain on the state's resources. Not only are 66 people dead and at least 600 more missing, but 52,000 people were forced to evacuate, with many of them going to shelters. Back in September, the state had already exhausted most of its entire annual wildfire budget, and that was before the latest fires broke out. More than 200 prison inmates have been battling the flames alongside professional crews. Clearly, California needs all the help it can get. If rich folks pay for private firefighters, that means the state can focus its resources on helping those who can't afford expensive insurance policies.

This isn't a new debate. During the 2007 California wildfire season, some people complained about the same thing. Reason's Matt Welch pointed out the absurdity of the argument in a column for the Los Angeles Times (where he worked at the time):

You would think that the cheap availability of potent fire retardant, and the creation of supplementary firefighting capability with costs borne entirely by the homeowners who choose to live in fire zones, instead of everyday taxpayers would be a cause for at least mild enthusiasm.

Bonus link: Here at Reason we've been singing the praises of private firefighters since at least 1976, when Reason Foundation founder Robert Poole wrote about the Rural Metro Fire Department's efforts in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Photo Credit: MEGA/Newscom

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  • Don't look at me!||

    Judging by the comments on other sites running the story, people aren't outraged at all. It's a made up outrage.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    A few more unsubtle headlines and they'll finally make that prophecy true!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Probably an attempt by the Keepers of Teh Narrative to distract from the multi-source criticism that blames the size and power of the fires on boneheaded Green policies about forest management. Their "Blame Global Warming" strategy isn't convincing anyone I've read.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Here we had the devastating Smokey Mountains Wildfires of 2016, fueled by poor forest management.

    That contribution to the California wildfires gets dismissed out of hand. They claim it is high winds and dry weather caused by man-made global warming that will be solved by green laws and carbon taxes.

    There are plant species in California that only germinate after their seed husks have been cracked by wildfires. That implies to me that they have evolved a survival mechanism to cope with a pre-historical climate conductive to wildfire conditions. Color me skeptickal.

    I also don't recall anyone around here near the Smokeys being begrudged for being able to take private steps to protect their property.

    I don't particularly care for Kanye and Kim Kardashian West (celeb overexposure) BUT if they can afford insurance to pay private fire fighters, I see no gain in them losing their home and I see a trickle down from the rich to the firefighters.

    Duh, Media. You shove these people in my face til I dislike them for no real reason other than overexposure, then, Media, you wanna make me hate them for saving their home and giving employment to fire fighters? That oughta be the outrage.

  • Naaman Brown||

    (I still can't figure how Kanye and Kim affording private fire fighters takes anything away from anyone to complain about. Private fire fighters free up government firefighters for the rest of us.)

  • Naaman Brown||

    Actually taxpayer funded firefighters, not government firefighters.

  • Chasman1965||

    People are outraged--the headline writers.

  • Sevo||

    "Much of the criticism aimed at such policies seems to stem from the belief that it's unfair for rich people to get extra help saving their homes."

    Well, it actually stems from jealousy; the politics of envy.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    I'll admit. I'm jealous of that booty.

  • Rock Lobster||

    You didn't build that.

  • CE||

    too much of a good thing

  • Pro Libertate||

    Um, yeah, people with more money can buy more stuff.

  • sarcasmic||

    It's unfair when rich people pay for extra socialized anything. That means fire fighters, criminal investigation, health care, education... Fair is fair.

  • Billy Bones||

    There is a commercial for insurance provider Chubb in which a customer states that Chubb sent private firefighters to save his property (apparently it is cheaper to prevent destruction than to rebuild after, imagine that). Where is, has been, the outrage against Chubb? The citizens of this country have become so innately ignorant. I have lost all hope for this country.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    No politician is brave enough to say the word "Chubb" in public out of fear of funny internet videos remixing it.

  • IceTrey||

    The running back for Cleveland is named Chubb.

  • Rock Lobster||

    Fat shaming is so un-PC.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Wanna scare the SHIT out of yourself? Consider this; the masses in this country are only beginning to approach the level of bovine ignorance the European Elite managed to foster in Spain, France, and Greece. The Germans kept their council and are causing problems. The Italians have had an amused contempt for their government since they emerged from WWII, and have generally been well served thereby. And the British decided that Brussels could go perform an awkward act of self-impregnation (now, if only they could get their politicians to do as they were f*cking TOLD!).

    Our sheep aren't the worst sheep out there by a long shot. Look at South Africa. There they are, sharing a border with Zimbabwe, so they have a prime example of where the policies their politicians are pursuing leads right next door....and they're STILL going to go that route.

    They fucking DESERVE to starve.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...a private crew used hoses and dug ditches to save the couple's $60 million mansion.

    Uh, there's a drought on! Also, I hope they got the landscaping permits to substantially change the topography.

    And finally, if we didn't have private fires in the first place we wouldn't need to hire anyone to fight them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, if the fire had been allowed to run its natural course, they'd have rebuilt. Private firefighters deny other Californians jobs!

  • Dillinger||

    >>>we didn't have private fires

    hilarious turn of phrase.

  • Dillinger||

    "outrage" is dead.

    >>as a fire at the West mansion likely would have spread

    cue flammable Soul Glo and silicone jokes.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Why Are People 'Outraged' That Private Firefighters Saved Kim and Kanye's Home?

    Because they listen to this type of garbage:

    You know, it's funny. Sometimes American journalists talk about how bad a country is when people are lining up for food. That's a good thing. In other countries, people don't line up for food. The rich get the food and the poor starve to death," Sanders lamented.

  • Jerryskids||

    Envy is the heart of socialism and that helps explain why it's so popular. It's not fair that rich people live better lives than poor people! You can't make everybody equally rich but you sure as hell can make them equally poor and unfortunately most people have a little evil spot in their heart that makes them prefer equality in poverty to inequality in wealth. Read your John Rawls - a more equal society is a more just society even if people are better off under inequality and even if the people themselves prefer inequality. If somebody offered you $20 under the condition that your worst enemy gets $50 and an alternative offer under which you both would get $1, you should prefer the second offer - and a depressing large number of people would.

  • SchillMcGuffin||

    I'm with you on most of that, but the "worst enemy" hypothetical is interesting. I don't generally begrudge strangers anything, and in the real world when we're talking laws and policy decisions I don't have any problem accepting that others, who I may even dislike, may be able to take better advantage of certain freedoms than I. But when you set up a "magic genie" scenario like that, I really have to think about whether $20 is worth doing someone I strongly dislike a favor. If you ramped-up the stakes, I might even have to think for a second about whether $1 million would be worth giving someone I detest $2.5 million -- though fortunately I don't really dislike anyone enough to go that far.

    It obviously is a strong impulse, though. At some level the mass of humanity really is just a bunch of crabs in a bucket.

  • DenverJ||

    Peter prayed for a cow. He prayed and prayed, and God finally sent him a cow. His family had fresh milk, with a little extra they could sell, and peter could use it to help plow his field.
    His neighbor, Dmitri, was very jealous. Peter sensed this, and told Dmitri to just pray for what he wanted.
    So that night Dmitri prayed "lord, please kill Peter's cow"

  • BBerry12||

    You're wrong. Give me my $20.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    I like Kanye's bird shirt. It's fancy. Did he draw it himself?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm trying to figure out what kind of "awareness" the shirt advocates.

  • Jerryskids||

    Is that a blue jay on the shirt? Probably reminding people that even horrible screeching is still technically a song.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think so. Still totally blank on the shirt.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Support for Trudeau just to balance out his MAGA hat?

  • Naaman Brown||

    Kanye's MAGA hat? Aha! THAT is the true target of the outrage.

    If he was photographed in a pro Hillary hat next to burnt out ruins, the media would be sympathetic.

  • SchillMcGuffin||

    It may just be folded funny, but are you sure it doesn't say "Awarenis"?

  • ||

    Ram Dass's I Am Living Awareness mindfulness, living in the moment, spiritual awareness, hokum spiritual practice.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    Ram Dass? Seriously? Wasn't that Peter North's alias for his gay-for-pay gigs?

    Paging Tony.

  • I can't even||

    Surprises me that insurance companies aren't doing this. Sounds a lot cheaper than a $60 million loss.

  • Utilitarian||

    They are doing it according to the article.

  • Weigel's Cock Ring||

    These sorts of policies are not cheap—CBS News reports they can cost between $2,500 and $8,000 a year—and they're often available only to people with expensive houses.

    That doesn't sound like a lot of money to me at all for a $60 million mansion in a known fire zone. That sounds like something that a couple of mega-rich celebrities would be complete idiots NOT to have!

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    And also like something an insurance company could afford to offer only by spreading the cost of the extra risk to other policy holders who get nothing for their higher premiums. The insurance company breaks even on an $8000-a-year-policy only if the home burns no more than once every 7,500 years.

  • Ricardo Vacilon||

    I don't know anything about insurance, but in your calculation, have you assumed that there's only one insuree in the risk pool?
    Spreading the cost of the extra risk to other policy holders---I assume that the market makes it difficult (though regulation may make it less so) to sell an insurance product that caters to a wide range of needs as opposed to a product that caters to specific needs, provided the latter can be priced more economically than the former. Would not some insurance company (or would-be insurance company), if allowed by legislation, get the idea that there's a demand for lower-cost insurance made feasible by not spreading the cost of the extra risk?

  • Sevo||

    "And also like something an insurance company could afford to offer only by spreading the cost of the extra risk to other policy holders who get nothing for their higher premiums."

    Poor Stephen! It's almost like he has to invent reasons for his anti-business bullshit.
    Yes, indeed he does, as a fucking lefty ignoramus, he has no evidence, just lefty bullshit.

  • WoodChipperBob||

    For most insurance, most policy holders get nothing in any given year - that's how insurance works.

    If an insurance company is willing to insure your $60M home for $8000/year, their actuaries have determined that there's less than a 1/7,500 chance per year that you will suffer a covered total loss.

  • Naaman Brown||

    Insurance is a mystery.

    "The insurance company breaks even on an $8000-a-year-policy only if the home burns no more than once every 7,500 years."

    If the home burned the loss would be $60 million dollars. If the $8000 policy covers private firefighters to help prevent the loss of the house, sounds like cutting costs is good for everyone: the insurer. the insured, the neighbors not threatened by a flaming $60 million estate.

    "... spreading the cost of the extra risk to other policy holders who get nothing for their higher premiums ..."

    I thought that was the theory behind all insurance. Only a few insured lives/ships/planes/homes lost per year but everyone pays into the pool. Some get rate incentives to minimize losses.

  • jfil||

    "Rich People Pay for Private Firefighters While the Rest of Us Burn."
    You'd think that HuffPo & The Atlantic would be appreciative that publicly subsidized firefighters didn't have to be pulled away from other locations to fight fires at the West residence. Also, rich folks sometimes pay for private security, but I don't recall them condemning that. Consistency, people.

  • TangoDelta||

    The nice thing is the private firefighters could have been ex-cons unlike the public firefighters who might currently be in jail but denied being hired once they get out. That can't be done with private security guards who, naturally, carry guns.

  • perlchpr||

    Also, rich folks sometimes pay for private security, but I don't recall them condemning that.

    And politicians, but of course they'll never complain about that. Well, maybe that they aren't getting it for free.

  • Rich||

    it's unfair for rich people to get extra help saving their homes.

    Perhaps. But it's not unfair for them to *purchase* extra help.

  • Eric L||

    Is it unfair that the rich have private security and not have to rely on the police (who are likely to shoot you or your dog if you call them) to protect them like the rest of us plebes?

  • Kevin Smith||

    Historian Amy Greenberg says "Rich people don't get their own 'better' police officers, or at least they aren't supposed to."

  • TangoDelta||

    It's not that they're better, they just know not to shoot the person writing the checks. Oh, maybe they aren't different at all.

  • Utilitarian||

    This sounds like some people are just trying to drum up outrage over nothing. They're paying for the extra protection out of their own pocket. If people want something insurance-related to be outraged over, it's the National Flood Insurance Program. Wealthy people build beach palaces and pay far less for flood insurance than they should (well below market) because it's subsidized by taxpayers, most of whom could never afford such a palace. That's the poor and middle class subsidizing the rich.

  • IceTrey||

    A lot of middle class own beach houses. Remember NJ and Hurricane Sandy?

  • IceTrey||

    A lot of middle class own beach houses. Remember NJ and Hurricane Sandy?

  • Rock Lobster||

    Aren't government facilitated distortions of the free market wonderful?

  • majil||

    Rural Metro was a a joke that got the bottom of the barrel out of the Academy and the ones that were fired from Phoenix Fire for drug use .
    As it is now unless you are a lesbian or have a relative already in Phoenix Fire Department ,don't waste you time applying for a job .

  • DenverJ||

    Do you have to prove that you're a lesbian?

  • Eddy||

    Do you have photos?

  • majil||

    Rural Metro was a a joke that got the bottom of the barrel out of the Academy and the ones that were fired from Phoenix Fire for drug use .
    As it is now unless you are a lesbian or have a relative already in Phoenix Fire Department ,don't waste you time applying for a job .

  • ||

    "Firefighters are consistently ranked the most beloved public servants, not just because they look good on calendars but because they treat everyone equally," historian Amy Greenberg tells The Atlantic.

    Wow. Could you imagine if a male historian had said, "Secretaries are consistently ranked the most beloved public servants, not just because they look good on calendars but because they help everyone equally."?

    Being clear, I'm not against firefighter calendars, I just find the disparately frank sexism upsetting. Mostly because I want pinup calendars back.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    Secretaries are consistently ranked the most beloved public servants

    +1 Maggie Gyllenhaal

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    It's outrageous that private firefighting firms exist, when everyone should have to rely on municipal firefighting.

    Seriously. When your home needs work, you call a municipal plumber/carpenter/electrician, not some private company that you hire for an agreed upon price. The very thought is ridiculous.

  • I'm Not Sure||

    Unless you're the UAW, then you call non-union workers because it won't cost you as much.

    UAW spurns union labor to build home for ex-president

  • Doug Heffernan||

    This is more about the insurance company mitigating risk to itself than it is about kim protecting her [big] butt. What is wrong with that?

    While these services are often provided free of charge with certain insurance plans, the policies themselves come with a hefty price tag. ... most of these insurance companies will only offer the service to homes worth over $2 million, meaning that the less wealthy would be unable to benefit from such protections.

    Everyone should not want an insurance company to incur a loss of 60 million large, even if the same insurance company won't make the same efforts to save your shack in the ghetto if it would be cheaper for them just to pay your claim for your burned down shack.

    This is just sensible risk mitigation.

  • CE||

    Not to mention the delays in rebuiliding, and the higher costs for building materials for everyone, if several of these megamansions burn down.

  • Rock Lobster||

    It doesn't pass the feelz test.

  • Tony||

    But you people would have private firefighting be the only option, meaning only the rich could afford the service, but they'd also have to avail themselves of it more often as the unchecked fires around them spread.

  • DenverJ||

    Sure, Tony, because throughout history that's the only way fires are ever fought. There weren't any volunteer fire departments or bucket brigades or anything like that. The only possible way to provide public services is through government.
    Also, "you people" is racist.

  • Tony||

    I expect you to turn away tax-funded firefighters if your place goes up.

  • DenverJ||

    As soon as I don't have to pay taxes for them.

  • Unicorn Abattoir||

    There are places in this country where an annual fee is required if you want the fire department to help you. I'm betting they aren't very rich areas.

  • IceTrey||

    That's usually a city department that will take calls in the county for a fee. A few years ago one let a house burn down because the guy didn't pay while the stood by to protect the neighbor who did. Cheap bastard it was only $75.

  • Sevo||

    I'll try to work up some sympathy, but...
    In the 80's, there was a very bad fire in the Oakland hills (bay area); loss of life, loss of property. One guy who had a lovely house (and shop) in the hills was a well-known expert regarding 4-cylinder Maserati engines, used in what is known as 'birdcage' Masers (mid '50s race cars) of which he had several (customer engines) in the rebuild process.
    Burned to the ground, property bought years ago, zero insurance, and a plea in the back pages of Autoweek (a buff-book of the time) for donations soon thereafter.
    I was pleased that the L-t-t-E were promptly filled with comments suggesting his *customers* should be getting donations; screw him if he was dumb enough to forego insurance.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    On what basis do you assume that only the rich would be able to afford a private service? Middle class and working class people afford various private services (such as insurance), and that's on top of them having to pay taxes.

    And even a die-hard socialist like yourself must surely realize that such a large market would not go unserved.

  • Eric L||

    'Middle class and working class people afford various private services ' such as FedEx and UPS even before the USPS was made private.

    So, on the one hand private corporations are evil because all they think about is making money but then when they have the opportunity to sell their goods or services to get money from the buying public they will only take the money if it is from the rich. Cash is cash - its fungible - a dollar from a rich person spends just like a dollar from a poor person. Or are we saying that companies are not out to maximize their profits?

  • WoodChipperBob||

    A dollar from a poor person spends better than a dollar from a rich person. Because poor people are used to people saying, "Cash up front," and will never leave you with an unpaid invoice when their corporation declares bankruptcy.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Wow, rich people actually spend the money they make. How astonishing!

  • Sevo||

    "Wow, rich people actually spend the money they make. How astonishing!"

    Blame Disney: Scrooge McDuck swam in his gelt.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Vice puts it bluntly: "Rich People Pay for Private Firefighters While the Rest of Us Burn."

    If you're still paying attention to Vice, you're doing it wrong.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    they can cost between $2,500 and $8,000 a year—and they're often available only to people with expensive houses.

    Why, it's almost as if the underwriter might be nervous about a $40,000,000 mansion in wildfire country.

  • mjs_28s||

    Most retarded envious comment ever that ignores the facts:

    "Much of the criticism aimed at such policies seems to stem from the belief that it's unfair for rich people to get extra help saving their homes."

    Extra help that they paid for.

    If you wreck your car and only carry liability insurance are you going to decry someone that wrecks their car but has full coverage and gets their car fixed or replaced?

    Go cry a river somewhere else.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Extra help that they paid for.

    Not even close. Not even tiny drop-in-the-bucket close. I don't live in a high fire zone, more the opposite. There's nothing anywhere nearby to catch fire and burn my house down. But using my insurance cost as a yardstick, if a $60,000,000 million dollar home were insured at my rate, the annual bill wouldn't be $8,000, it would be $136,000.

    Of course we don't know what the total insurance bill is. Maybe it is that high. What we do know is that the whole, "Extra help that they paid for," bit is less than forthright. That is about PR, to justify insurance companies protecting themselves, and doing it by treating rich customers better than others.

    My guess? Insurance companies probably spread some extra cost for the big risks to smaller customers, who get nothing for the extra money exacted. That way, the insurance companies can afford to compete more aggressively, with lower rates for the biggest potential accounts. Of course that's pure cynicism on my part—or maybe not quite pure cynicism—more like cynicism plus a bit of experience watching how the health insurance market works.

  • Shirley Knott||

    You have no clue what risk pooling is, or how insurance works, do you?

  • Rock Lobster||

    Stephen isn't in the insurance business. He's in the envy business.

  • Slocum||

    The insurance company has no reason to write an actuarially unsound policy -- why would they? Keep in mind that much of the value of the mansion is in the land. And do we know that the policy was no more than $8000/yr for this particular house?

  • Observant||

    I thought I read it as +/- $8K to pay for JUST the 'additional' fire protection portion of the insurance contract, which I'm guessing would cost much more for the base policy on such a mansion.

  • Sevo||

    Stephen Lathrop|11.17.18 @ 7:05AM|#
    "...Of course we don't know what the total insurance bill is. Maybe it is that high. What we do know is that the whole, "Extra help that they paid for," bit is less than forthright. That is about PR, to justify insurance companies protecting themselves, and doing it by treating rich customers better than others."
    You really are a pathetic piece of jealous idiocy, aren't you?

    "My guess? Insurance companies probably spread some extra cost for the big risks to smaller customers, who get nothing for the extra money exacted...."
    My guess? You're a fucking lefty ignoramus.
    Fuck off.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    "Why" is easy: envy, pure and simple, by sub-par individuals.

    So, you have never produced anything that someone - or enough people - value enough to become wealthy.

    Or, you simply are a piss-poor manager of money, didn't save, invest, sacrifice, whatever - to accumulate the means to hire private firefighters - or drive a BMW, or own a private jet, or a $60M home.

    Whatever, your choices and possibly aptitude - or lack thereof - or bad luck left you only middle class, or even less well off financially.

    And the other guy did the right things, made the money, and chooses to use it to benefit himself and his family, or her friends.

    As long as he is not committing aggression against you, it's NONE OF YOUR F@*ing business. It's not your property. Period.

  • Sevo||

    ^+, oh, a lot.
    Quit your bitchin' and start workin'. I can tell you from (long ago) experience that a PB&J sandwich can be put on the table for $0.06/copy, and if that's what it takes to do what you need to do, STFU and do it. Or just STFU.

  • CE||

    pretty much anyone can afford to lease a BMW. 3 series, at least.

  • Duelles||

    Of course it's not fair! There is no sane person who would not try to save their home if at all possible. We all have had the opportunity to become the rich entrepreneurs that the West's are. Good for them ! Doncha love jealous hoi poloi.

  • buybuydandavis||

    Very unlikely that Kanye was the only uber wealthy to do this.

    Likely that he was the most famous and influential black supporter of Trump to do this.

  • IceTrey||

    I heard they just went to Home Depot and loaded up a truck with asylum seekers.

  • Mac61||

    Who really gives a shit?

  • Sevo||

    Those who are obsessed with the politics of envy; proggies, primarily.

  • Mike d||

    As long as they pay their fair share of property taxes, in addition to paying their private fire guys, I don't see what the problem is.

    Where I draw the line would be if asked for subsidies or getting tax credits on the money they spent for the insurance.

    Now, I suppose that people who are liberal and understand how economics works (all 50,000 of them) will eventually make the argument that the rich buying up firefighters will drive up labor costs for the city looking to hire them. Thats a semi-legitimate argument one might make.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Another consideration being, what's the point of an $8,000 premium? It isn't even a drop in the bucket against a $60,000,000 risk—it's laughably trivial, and utterly unrelated to any actuarial reality.

    Presumably, an insurance company confronting risk on that scale will be motivated, with or without the extra premium, to provide extra fire protection out of its own pocket, based on pure self-protective financial interest. Problem is, once the insurance buying public got a look at that in action—free extra protection for the rich, but not for anyone else—there might be a bit of a PR problem. Hence the premium. It's window dressing, to confuse folks like the commenters on this thread, and keep them from connecting the dots.

  • Slocum||

    "Another consideration being, what's the point of an $8,000 premium? "

    That was reported by CBS news as part of a range, not an established fact about what West and Kardashian are paying. The insurance company just has no reason to make other customers subsidize under-priced policies for mansions. Why would they?

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Because people who live in mansions control a lot of commerce which insurance companies want to get a shot at? Because an insurance company which sells a mansion policy may be able to sell also a yacht policy, a ski-home policy, a car-collection policy, a fine art rider, and who knows what all? And then, when there is a loss, the company can better recover the payout, by raising all those various premiums just a bit. Much better business than socking it to the client on the basis of only one policy. All sorts of reasons, but the general point is that when there is a lot of business to be had, discounting to get it is the rule everywhere.

    Now, tell me, why do you think typical small-group health care coverage is so much more expensive than large groups? I think that in part it's because large groups are attractive clients which command highly competitive bidding from insurers—who then try to offset the resulting narrower margins by socking it to small groups who don't command competitive bids, and thus have no choice. Why would anyone suppose that small groups in the aggregate are any more risky to insure than large groups totaling similar numbers?

    Marketing matters in the insurance industry just like in every industry. Some people benefit from that. Some people pay for it. Letting the ones who pay for it know what's happening is always bad business.

  • Sevo||

    Stephen Lathrop|11.17.18 @ 1:58PM|#
    "Because (one piece of whiny jealousy after the other)..."

    Because you'r a fucking lefty ignoramus.
    Fuck off.

  • RabbitHead||

    It's not "free extra protection for the rich". They already got their protection from the policy. It's paid- for protection of the insurance ompanies money. Of course they would put any money spent on loss prevention where it gives the best return. High dollar houses.

    This is the same company that will jack everyone's rates if the losses get too high.

    And they all reinsure, so we're all in the same risk pool really. The money they don't pay to rebuild that house is money their policyholders don't have to make up.

  • Tionico||

    Since when does anyone need pubic approval to enter into a freely agreed upon exchange of goods/services between two freely operating parties? What, they think this is a comminist society or something? I can hire someone to water my lawn, why can I not hire someone to water my house? How Stupid can people get? They'd rather the house burn down and the insurance compa have to pay to rebuild it, all $63Mn worth?

    We have a free market economy, not a collectivist socialist government directed one. Grow up. They wanted to spend that money, the men who took it wanted to do what they did; So what?

    t'ain't no nemmine a yores.

  • CE||

    I think since Wicked vs. FeeltheBurn

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Thought experiment.

    Who do the luxury fire fighters work for, the home owners or the insurance company? What happens when the mansion is threatened, along with the nursing home down the street, where 28 bed-ridden patients are about to burn to death? Could the homeowners, being both ungodly rich and ordinarily compassionate, say to their elite fire fighting crew, "Screw the house, get down the street and save the lives?" Or would the reply be, "No way, we work for the insurance company, and this house can't burn."

  • Slocum||

    Why wouldn't the local fire department prioritize a nursing home full of patients? Your objections are absurd.

  • Stephen Lathrop||

    Who knows? Maybe because the local fire department has its hands full evacuating an entire town elsewhere.

    Slocum, you are beginning to strike me as someone more interested in defending an ideology than in engaging an argument—which doesn't actually make for effective ideological defense. Instead, why not venture an opinion on the right answers to my questions?

  • Sevo||

    Stephen Lathrop|11.17.18 @ 2:08PM|#
    "...Slocum, you are beginning to strike me as someone more interested in defending an ideology than in engaging an argument—"

    Which is a laugh riot coming from a fucking lefty ignoramus who has spent the entire link inventing fantasies to justify your envy.
    Go flip your burgers and fuck off, loser

  • WoodChipperBob||

    If the firefighters work for the insurance company, it's certainly possible that the firefighters would say, "No, our bosses said to protect *this* house." It's also possible that the insurance company could say, "Yeah, let's send our firefighters to do something that will give us good PR," since, as you said previously, "Marketing matters in the insurance industry just like in every industry." But if Kim and Kanye wanted to protect *other* things, they'd have to hire their own firefighters - which they could do, if they wanted to.

    But lots of companies (and people) choose to do non-altruistic things every day. I noticed that you non-altruistically decided to post here instead of spending your time volunteering at a soup kitchen.

  • ME2R||

    It's not quite so simple. Firefighters injured at a non paying structure were not covered by their insurance. Thus, injuries or death incurred on that property would leave the firefighter and family without medical care, etc. that's a big risk to take for someone who didn't value your service enough to pony up Dut.

  • ME2R||

    - correction, pony up $75.

  • Curly4||

    . . . Firefighters Expose America's Fault Lines," blares The Atlantic. "As California's Wildfires Raged, The Ultra-Rich Hired Private Firefighters," announces HuffPost. Vice puts it bluntly: "Rich People Pay for Private Firefighters While the Rest of Us Burn." . . .
    If these people are envious of the rich there is a couple of options for them. The first is to become rich! But if they are not able to do that for whatever reason there is the other option. This option is to gain enough power in congress and have a president that would pass a law that would confiscate the rich people property and businesses and then spread that money out among their group. In other words to be communists (although facists or many kinds of statists would also work) so that the state owns all and then all work for the state. That way the state could control the income of each individual in the US citizen or not. Thus none would have an income that is much lower nor much higher than any one else.

  • CE||

    People seem to love the Kardashians, for some reason.
    They used to love Kanye, until they found out he backed Trump.

  • inoyu||

    Fire has become an industry and a Government Supported Enterprise (GSE). As such, it serves many purposes. A cure for fire, a durable fire retardant for structures, would be a disaster,

  • CE||

    Rich people get better lawyers, too. Why not "public defenders for all"?

    Or are there two many Democrats who are lawyers?

  • CE||

    er, too many

  • flyfishnevada||

    Good for them. Their insurance company probably saved a bundle enabling them to better cover regular folks that lost their homes. They probably saved others' homes as well. Tax payers didn't pay a dime. The only problem I have with stories like this is when some rich, elitist statists use private resources like this yet demand the rest of us submit to the government for protection. I don't think that's the case here.

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    The usual idiots forget that those firefighters used by Kanye and Kim hire out to those that can afford them, and did not deprive anyone of protection of publicly paid firefighters. In fact, they allowed the local FD to concentrate on the fires they were fighting without having to divert resources to save some millionaire's digs over that of one of the "common people".

  • Rational Exuberance||

    The Wests, who have evacuated the area, did benefit from the work of private firefighters. According to TMZ, a private crew used hoses and dug ditches to save the couple's $60 million mansion

    If they didn't hire private firefighters, the faux outrage would be: "Public firefighters waste their time on saving the homes of billionaires while ordinary homes burn!"

    Of course, given that the Wests likely pay close to a million dollars a year in property and related taxes for their home, the real question is why they don't get half a dozen dedicated firefighters from their city to begin with.

  • Spookk||

    What's the difference between "private firefighters", and some poor Joe and his neighbors charging the fireline with garden hoses? Aside from likelihood of success and escaping injuries, that is.

  • Chasman1965||

    Why is this being criticized? They took some of the pressure off the county fire department by doing some of their job. This seems to be a great thing they did.

  • CDRSchafer||

    Rage is all the rage this year. You aren't a cool kid unless you are going on an unhinged rant. Makes me long for the days of peace and love and drugs.

  • Uncle Jay||

    First, Kayne and Kim are rich, capitalist pigs who made their money honestly and ethically.
    That alone should disgust any true socialist.
    Secondly, rich people should turn in their entire fortunes to The State.
    After all, they didn't build that.
    Lastly, there should not be any "private fire department."
    The rich should burn in their homes alive waiting for the local FD to save them just like all the little people should.

  • Lawn Darts||

    People have no sense of history. There is a reason that they are called Fire Companies. In urban areas prior to the 1900s, these were private Companies that you contracted with to put out fires at your house. This is nothing new.

  • Naaman Brown||

    This bugs me even today. I am people. I Am Not 'Outraged' That Private Firefighters Saved Kim and Kanye's Home. Why?

    I don't envy The Rich. I hate, loathe, despise them. Especially the arrogant blue state coastie elite. All the fawning over "philanthropists" like Carnegie and Rockefeller -- who made their millions killing miners in the districts to spread part of their largess to adorating masses in the capitol of the empire state. And the political rich like Bloomberg, Soros, dont get me started there.

    But even I cannot work up outrage over Kanye and Kim saving their mansion, because oddly enough, I think they earned it. Kanye makes music people are willing to buy or pirate, Kim promotes fashions people are willing to buy or copy. I have never heard of them hiring goons or paying off sheriffs to massacre striking workers.

  • ||

    People should take a look at the origins or firefighters in this country. If you didn't have fire insurance, they wouldn't save your house! Paid firefighters also propelled development of the technology and training that allows them to be as effective as they are today.

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