In the spring of 2000 when your Iconoclast was still editor of the CPCU Claims Quarterly (CQ), a very typical situation for editors of such publications occurred: articles that had been promised for the July issue were not forthcoming. When the deadline is near and the material is not, editors tend to dig deep among the press releases for something useful, but if all else fails, they write a long editorial. Mine was entitled “Wilderness Search and Rescue – An Underwriting Opportunity?”

In it were statistics cited from the American Alpine Club that, in 1998, search-and-rescue costs represented 15 percent of the total budget of the National Park Service. When one added the cost of Coast Guard rescues of unqualified weekend sailors out there on the oceans, American taxpayers are paying for the stupidity of a small minority of our citizens. Why not make such costs a factor of liability coverable under various insurance forms and charge those who want to risk their lives climbing mountains or hiking in the wilderness for special endorsements to cover the costs of rescue?

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