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            Who is Going to Pay the Bill? (来源:英语学习门户网站EnglishCN.com)

 

在天灾人祸发生的时候,外国人是怎样做它的家园修复的呢?庞大的重整的费用从那里来呢?

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The floods that have ravaged(破坏)parts of Central and Eastern Europe

may leave more than physical devastation in their wake. Financial

damage to businesses and homeowners will likely run into billions of

dollars. But there is one group that will be footing an unexpectedly

small proportion of the bill: insurance companies.

开门见山地指出问题所在。

 

Consider these sobering(严肃的)statistics. In the 1999 floods in Bavaria, which

caused $416 million in damage, the insured share of the loss was less

than 10%. And when parts of the Czech (捷克人)Republic were flooded in 1997, wreaking almost $2 billion in destruction, insurance covered only

20%. "There will undoubtedly be substantial economic loss caused by

the current flooding, but the insured loss is expected to be significantly

lower," says Ivo Menzinger, head of the Flood Group at the insurance

giant Swiss Re in Zurich. "This is largely due to the low penetration of

flood insurance in the main affected areas of Austria, the Czech

Republic and Germany."

 

 

In Britain, flood insurance is generally built into a standard "home contents

cover" package. Elsewhere in Europe, however, this type of

insurance is sold separately. As a result, only a small number of

people affected by the heavy weather may be insured against it — and

even then, their coverage is unlikely to stretch very far. In Germany,

which has so far sustained an estimated 7 billion in damage, fewer

than 3% of all households are covered for floods. Things are better in

the former East Germany, where old state-run schemes offered flood

cover as standard, and some of those policies are still in effect. In

Austria, about half of all insured households are covered for floods —

but only up to between 5,000 and 10,000 per home. The Austrian

Insurance Association estimates insured losses for this disaster will be

in the region of 100 million, while total losses could hit 3 billion.

为什么保险公司要承担的费用那么少呢?

 

The onus (负担)will be on European governments — many of which are

already short of cash — to pick up the tab.(账单;全部费用)It won"t be easy last week Austria said it may have to delay tax cuts and trim defense

 spending in order to meet flood expenses. Germany has authorized a relief

package, comprising 1400 million in aid as well as loan guarantees.

But such measures could leave Germany and other countries in

breach of the conditions of the European Stability and Growth pact,

which says that the budget deficit of euro-zone states cannot go above

3% of GDP. To be sure, economists say there is a provision(条款)in the

pact that permits member states to breach(不履行)its conditions under

extreme circumstances. But even before the floods, the pact had been

under pressure. Portugal has fallen afoul (冲突)of deficit(赤字)restrictions, and some other nations are struggling to meet them.

 

Nevertheless, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, soon to face

voters at the polls, promised that more money will be forthcoming. The

European Union has also swung into action, saying it will provide up to

260 million to the Czech government. The E.U. is examining ways to

release funds to Austria and Germany, as well. With water still rising in

some places and many people uninsured, those affected by the floods

will need all the help they can get.

 

 

 
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