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flood control and soil conservation, cheap power was provided manufacturers that are in competition with our own industries. In providing such funds, it appears we are in the process of underwriting our own economic and industrial funeral.
I might add that a couple of years ago a former chairman of the Connecticut Development Commission on a telecast reported the State's gross product of $5 billion, but at the same time pointed out that more than 25 percent of Connecticut's industrial workers were engaged in defense work. Curtailment of armaments would have serious repercussions, he declared.
Let us face it. We in Connecticut are in the midst of an economic war. We shall have to fight every inch of the way to maintain our position as the arsenal of the United States. Governor Ribicoff was quick to call the turn recently on southern carpetbaggers who immediately set to work to persuade flood-damaged industries to move out of the State. He properly designated their efforts as ghoulish and let it be known that he regarded their activities as a new low in human relations in such a time of distress.
For the ordinary man and woman, where they shall work is one of the cardinal facts of their existence. Almost 900,000 of them have selected Connecticut as their place of abode and to protect their lives, properties, and future security is the purpose of our presence here today.
These men and women are highly skilled artisans whose knowledge and techniques are as essential to the national defense as are the proficiencies of a jet pilot. The factories wherein they use their precious skills are our modern fortresses of defense. At whatever costs, the skills of these persons and the physical plants wherein they toil must be preserved if we are to maintain an orderly and democratic society.
It is for this reason that I advocate not food insurance but, more accurately, general disaster insurance, with insurance companies and the Federal Government operating in an arrangement that will protect all participants against financial loss. Such coverage will include loss by hurricane, earthquake, war, rain, wind, or any other eruption of nature which causes devastation and chaos.
Flood insurance is too limited in scope. You cannot expect a man on a mountain to be interested in such a policy when he himself is under the constant threat of destruction by Mother Nature.
Bring the man on the mountain, his neighbor in the valley, and the worker in a defense area under a blanket policy and forth with you set up a wide market and a wider spread of loss. This appeals to me
a both as sound business and reasonable good actuarial sense.
Because there is no statistical data at hand for losses which have been sustained by such acts of God it is essential that the Federal Government subsidize the project at the lowest possible rate to the insured. In the event of a catastrophe, such as those of recent months, insurance companies would be guaranteed against loss much as bank depositors are now protected under the terms of the Federal Bank Deposit Act. In the event of loss to the insurance companies the loss would be made up by the Government.
Naturally it would take years of experience to arrive at precise rates of premiums, but a conscientious administration of the program by men of good will would provide the community with safeguards which it lacks at present. The point is that proper coverage would
be within the reach of industrialists, businessmen and homeowners at a price they can afford to pay. Such a program would conform to the basic principle of insurance that the many take care of the losses of the few.
I do not need to remind you that there is ample precedent for such legislation. The farmer's crops are insured, his prices subsidized, he is protected against tornadoes and his bank deposits are insured. By the same token the industrial worker's job is protected by tariff's and social legislation which protect his rights in an industrial society. Quite obviously no single insurance company or group of them could stand a loss in the amount of $230 million, which is the estimate of flood damage in Connecticut. Government assistance, as a practical expedient, is imperative.
Together with this joint insurance company-Government program it will be necessary to enact zoning legislation in local communities which will prevent persons from establishing residences or businesses in flood areas. Some exceptions might have to be made to such measures, but only after proper safeguards such as dikes, dams and channel reconstruction had been undertaken.
Likewise we should unite in a concerted effort to bring to immediate fruition those projects for New England flood control, long advocated by Army engineers, authorized for construction by Congress, but still lacking congressional appropriation. I should like to call your attention to a dispatch from Washington to the Hartford Times by its correspondent, William A. Garrett. On July 7, 1955, he wired his paper to this effect.
With Congress pressing toward an early adjournment, there isn't a ghost of a chance that this session will vote funds for six additional reservoirs needed to avert what Army engineers warn could be a major flood disaster in the Connecticut Valley.
Less than 2 months after the Congress adjourned, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts were devastated by raging, crushing floods, leaving death and destruction in its wake.
In conclusion, permit me a word about my own city of Bristol. We were in the midst of the destructive flood. The Pequabuck River, which bisects the city, did unprecedented damage to bridges, highways, parks, and schools. The city's business district was under several feet of water and merchants, whose fall inventories were in storage, discovered to their complete consternation that thousands of dollars worth of merchandise was destroyed. Many of these businessmen have given up the ghost and gone out of business permanently.
Major industries such as the Associated Spring Corp., the new departure division of General Motors, the E. Ingraham Co., as well as the Bristol Brass Corp., and the Superior Electric Co., sustained losses in amounts approximately $1,500,000. Other industries, such as the Sessions Clock Co., and the Barrett Co., had substantial damage to their plants.
Such extensive damage as occurred was in no single instance covered by insurance.
If industry is to flourish in the future in Bristol, if merchants are to continue to supply the residents of our city with the goods and services demanded for living, the Government must assume the responsibility for their reasonable security.
It is for this reason that I come before you today to urge not merely protection from flood, but protection from disaster no matter its source.
Senator LEHMAN. Thank you very much, indeed.
May I ask a question that I probably should have asked the Governor this morning? Were other States successful in any substantial instances, in getting Connecticut industries to move away from Connecticut because of their vulnerability ?
Mayor CASEY. No. I believe there was immediate, let us say, merchanding of our areas by development groups. This was condemned immediately by the Governor, and I believe after that, with the publicity they received, they withdrew their horns and did not continue that.
Senator LEHMAN. I am not familiar with it. I was afraid there might be some of that.
Mayor Casey. There were 1 or 2 instances, and the Governor quickly attacked those development groups.
Senator LEHMAN. You referred to the high rates for power in this State; did you not?
Mayor Casey. No; I do not believe I referred to the high rates of power. You said high rates of power?
Senator LEIMAN. I thought you refered to the fact that the rates of power in this country were very high.
Mayor Casey. No; I did not, sir. I said that electricity was born from the water in the streams, and now the locations of the industries in the valley have been expanded.
Senator LEHMAN. I thought you said that was the reason for moving these properties down to the river bank.
Mayor Casey. Yes.
Senator LEHMAN. Because they got cheap power; but that, of course, had changed now because of the development of power.
Mayor Casey. But their major plants are still located in the valleys and to move them out might take time.
Senator LEHMAN. I thought you commented on the high cost of power in this State.
Thank you very much.
Mr. EDELSTEIN. Mayor Brunjes, of Norwalk, asked to file a statement.
Senator LEHMAN. Without objection, the statement will be made a part of the record at this point, (The statement of Mayor Brunjes follows:)
STATEMENT OF GEORGE R. BRUNJES, MAYOR, NORWALK, Conn. I come before you today to urge with all the conviction at my command that something must be done, and soon, to protect the people of this country from the ravages of natural disasters.
The city which I serve as mayor, in the closing days of the Revolutionary War was burned literally to the ground by British troops. Relief at that time was tendered in the form of voluntary gifts, tax abatements made by the State government, and the offer of large land holdings in the Western Reserve.
On the weekend of October 15-16, the city of Norwalk again knew widespread disaster when flash floods rampaged over its land. And now, in 1955, even as in that earlier disaster, we find that relief is to be expected largely in the form of voluntary gifts provided largely through such organizations as the American Red Cross, through Government loans of assorted types, and, quite likely, through some form of tax relief which may be granted by the State government.
Such measures are clearly not the answer to widespread natural disasters. No matter how large the Red Cross rehabilitation grant may be, it can constitute only a token payment on the total damage bill to be met by the disaster victim. And the Government loan, no matter how vital to preserving the economic life of a business, still remains to be repaid-a burden of added debt.
The city of Norwalk, like other municipalities hit by this year's floods, is still seeking an accurate compilation of flood damage. Already the figures are staggering to contemplate. An absolutely accurate report will obviously never be possible.
Our city's chief assessor has estimated that $1,304,930 was washed from the city's grand list by the October 15-16 flood. Of this amount $64,194 represented furniture and equipment, $273,055 machinery and equipment, and $607,465 busi. ness inventories.
In addition, real-estate losses from the flood amount to grand-list deductions of $35,920 for dwellings, $4,080 for garages, $29,840 for land, and $293,315 for industrial buildings.
One company, the assessor reported, lost furniture and equipment assessed at $23,620, machinery assessed at $53,760, and inventory assessed at $271,720.
Summarizing, our city lost personal property assessed at $941,745 and real estate assessed at $363,185.
These figures, perhaps, mean little in terms of Federal appropriations. To a city the size of Norwalk they represent a very real problem. And I would point out here that grand-list assessments represent less than 50 percent of actual value in the case of real estate, and approximately 65 percent of trne value in the case of personal property.
The loss of this property will result in an annual tax loss of $51,459 at present tax rates. This, I would assure you, is an appreciable amount in the budget of a city the size of Norwalk.
There are other figures to attest to the impact of this one natural disaster on this one western Connecticut city. Our director of civil defense bas prepared a report for submission to the State general assembly which will show actual loss to be well over $8 million. Included in this figure is $4,670,000 for industrial loss, $1,500,000 for business loss including inventories, $1,101,000 for public properties and facilities, and a loose estimate of $729,000 for private home losses. And it is brought home to us almost daily that our ever-increasing estimates are obsolete almost before they are made. An estimated loss of $1 million in bridge destruction, for instance, pales before a contractor's preliminary estimate of $2,060,000 for replacement.
And even these figures, incomplete as they are, would if multiplied to infinity portray only a small part of the real need for adequate provisions for enabling disaster victims to meet their relief needs.
It is impressive to say that one of the city's bigger companies sustained damage estimated at $1 million. But it is equally important to point out that an 83-year-old barber was washed completely out of business after following his trade for 70 years. It is impressive to say that State authorities bave ordered the destruction of $500,000 worth of wines, liquors, and beers which were covered by floodwater. But it is equally important to point out that a young dealer's entire inventory, a major investment in his life, was included in that figure.
For the major impact of even total disaster is almost always personal Whether the loss be sustained by a large corporation or a one-man business; whether the damage be to a utility building or a small private home, the impact is felt personally in a series of personal reactions.
Gentlemen, we can estimate with some degree of accuracy, the total damage involved in any given disaster, but we can only guess at the extent of any one personal loss included in that total. If 3 houses are swept away in a torrent of water, for instance, we can say that their total market value was $40.000, but that is not the extent of the damage which must be faced. Furniture replacement, landscaping, personal possessions, personal conveniences added lig the owners, all these are involved, but rarely show up in damage estimates And what of the owner of one of the houses who had been within only a year or two of completing mortgage payments in time to retire on social security? Or of the widow who owned the second house and who has, perhaps, enough savings to provide adequate new housing for herself, but depended for income on the rental to be derived from the second floor of that house? These are problems which clearly and demonstrably add to the magnitude of disaster and which must be faced in planning for it.
The people of Norwalk, who have known disaster, know full well that in the future we must prepare for tragedy before it strikes. We prepare for tomorrow through our investments in our homes and our businesses; we prepare for old age through social-security taxes and insurance premiums; and now, it is all too apparent, we must prepare for natural disasters which can in but a few hours wipe out the homes, the businesses, the savings which we have created.
We believe, then, that two things must be done, and must be done with all of the speed, and ability and bold planning at our disposal.
In the first place, we must have, it is obvious, a comprehensive flood-control program to eliminate this form of natural disaster. This problem the Federal Government, clearly must lead in solving. For floods do not start and stop in 1 city, 1 State, or frequently, even in 1 region. We are confident that through the combined efforts of all levels of government and with the best planning and greatest cooperation of which we are all capable, this need can be met and that in the not too distant future true flood control can become a reality.
But in the meantime, we recognize that something else is necessary. That something is some form of flood insurance. It is not enough to say that nobody will insure you against flood disaster. If the need exists, the need must be met as needs have been met in the past.
I would call first on the private insurance companies of our land to meet this problem, perhaps through special policy 'programs or through broadened extended coverage riders to existing policies. Having faith in the private enterprise foundations of our national economy, and in the aroused concern of private companies, I would prefer such a solution.
If however, such a solution is not possible, if the private insurance industry is absolutely convinced that the problem is beyond its power, then as the mayor of a city which has known disaster, I would call now for a flood-insurance program worked out by private enterprise working in conjunction with the Federal Government by means of a reinsurance program, or, if that, too, is unattainable, then I would call unceasingly for the development, creation, and operation of a Federal flood-insurance program.
The people of my city, and of other towns and cities through the Northeast who have been sadly devastated by 2 floods in 2 months this year are not insurance experts. We cannot at this time offer recommendations as to the mechanical nature of a Government flood-insurance program. But, perhaps because we have suffered, we can be excused in demanding that something be done, and soon, to make it possible for us to face the future without fear. Our Government has recognized its obligation to provide electricity in areas where private industry has not reached. We ask now that our Government recognize its obligation to provide insurance security against disasters with which private
I thank you.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM CARROLL, MAYOR, TORRINGTON, CONN.
Mayor TORRINGTON. Senator Lehman and our distinguished Senator from Connecticut, Senator Bush. My name is William T. Carroll, mayor of the city of Torrington.
Torrington is a city of 30,000 population. We suffered terribly in this disaster.
I have not prepared any statement to present to your committee, but I listened very attentively to our Governor this morning in his presentation of his testimony. I concur with him most wholeheartedly in the specific recommendations he made that this committee recommend to the Congress the establishment of a disaster or flood insurance bill, to go along with the recommendations of the President in doing so.
The people expect it. The eyes of the people are at the present time on the general assembly of the State. The Governor formed