And I thought parapsychology was weird....!

James Randi --- Wizard (
Wed, 14 Feb 1996 03:23:19 -0500

Okay. I finally discovered a profession in which the practitioners
make less sense than their equivalents in Parapsychology. It's called

Let me lead you into this strange world with an example of bizarre
terminology that is currently making its weary way through my
lifeline. I have what the National Flood Insurance Program, through
State Farm Insurance, sells as a Flood Policy. This covers my
property here in Florida. In fact, by law I must have this policy.
One would think, obviously, that if I experience a flood here, I might
collect for damages.

One would be wrong.

The policy which I've paid premiums on for over eight years now, can
never, under any circumstances in a real world, ever be collected on.
Read on.

I had a flood in October. That is to say, a whole lot of rain fell
from the sky, the ground beneath didn't soak it up, and it ran into my
studio, at the back of my property. Six inches deep. A lot of damage
ensued, and I made a claim with State Farm. A charming gentleman came
around, looked at it and tut-tutted a bit, then left.

Two weeks later, I got a letter telling me that my policy required
"flooding of two acres of the covered property," and that I could not
be paid for the damages. That struck me as rather strange, since my
property is just 1.3 acres. Apparently, I'd been holding a policy
that could never pay off, no matter how deep the water. But there
were even more weird developments to come.

When I suggested to State Farm that since I didn't have two acres, and
thus could not be paid, ever, and that my policy was therefore
useless, the mavens there came up with yet another surprise to thwart
my desire to extract money from them. In a letter received today, I
read, under "Losses Not Covered":

1 B: Loss caused by rain . . . unless your insured property has
been, at the same time, damaged by a flood.

Well, that flood WAS caused by rain. And my property WAS damaged by
that flood. But the rain-water that caused the damage is not eligible
as a cause....?

There's more. In that same strange letter, I read:

The flood water would need to cover more than two acres of
land or two adjacent properties.

It appears that these intellectual giants believe that no other
property in the town was rained upon, and that any rain that did fall,
piled up on my property alone, just because I have bad luck? I'm
reminded of that sad little character in Lil' Abner, a guy named Joe
Btlfsptsgk (approximate spelling) who walked about with a small cloud
raining over him all the time.


Penn and Teller are going to the UK to appear at the Sadlers
Welles theater (I mean, theatre!) from April 23rd to May 4th. That
will be a hoot, I'm sure.


And for those of you who see this on Tuesday night, look for
an ABC-TV program called American Journal.. Another episode in the
Quadro saga, featuring moi.

James Randi


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