Every day, the amount of information available to the public grows. And with the rise of that information comes questions of access, regulation, and expectation.
The tragic explosions in West, Texas serve as a reminder of the power of understanding. Ammonium nitrate, a highly dangerous chemical, caused a significant explosion and a resulting deadly fire in West this April. Such an unexpected and harmful event is bound to result in the exploration of preventative measures. One such measure lies in the ever-practical mode of liability insurance, a measure that brings ideas of regulation to the forefront.
There is an expectation that exists for many individual practitioners who deal in potentially dangerous fields, an expectation that lies in the realms of insurance and responsibility. A driver requires insurance to protect against injury; an electrician must carry liability insurance; a repairman must be insured. For individuals these expectations exist - individuals who are far less capable of creating a gigantic explosion and fire than sizable corporations dealing with chemicals and fertilizers on a daily basis. Why would the expectations we hold for the individuals in our society not carry over to companies composed of many parts, companies that conduct their business on a much grander, potentially more harmful scale?
The answer lies somewhere between legislative interest and regulation. Corporations, corporations capable of interacting with danger on the devastating scale seen in West, are often not required to carry liability insurance for their own chemicals. The focus now is on the victims of West, as it should be, and it is important to remember that a lack of required liability insurance may harm victims who may otherwise have no other recourse.
Companies must be held accountable in the case of liability insurance just as individuals are, or more victims and a less informed community may result. Tragedy can never be totally averted, but it is within our capability as citizens and policymakers to ensure that every single preventative measure is taken, measures like the requirement of liability insurance. Regulation can be a difficult task, but when it comes to the practice of saving lives and ensuring the passage of vital information, it is a necessity.