Okay. I finally stopped laughing from yesterday’s story about Ark Encounter long enough to post an update.
In a gift to headline writers everywhere, Ark Encounter has decided to sue its insurers for not covering damage caused by flood. Ken Ham‘s company said that massive rainfall destroyed a nearby access road and they paid nearly $1,000,000 to fix the problem. Insurance only agreed to cover a portion of that sum. Hence, the lawsuit.
You would think Answers in Genesis would want to get in front of this story, but they were strangely silent until hours after the story broke yesterday — even though the lawsuit was filed days earlier — and when Chief Communications Officer Mark Looy finally spoke up in a post titled “Faked News,” it was to criticize people for getting the story wrong.
… there has NOT been a flood at our Ark Encounter themed attraction. Just some ongoing rain, two years ago, that caused a hillside to erode — but no flood! That’s all. And the ship was not affected.
See?! No flood. Just a lot of ongoing rain in a really short amount of time. But don’t you dare call it a flood.
In any case, the lawsuit really does involve rain damage on the property, and the headlines are still hilarious. None of the news articles I’ve read have said the Ark itself was damaged.
Here’s what’s actually happening in case you’re curious.
When the Ark was built, this is what one of the side roads looked like:
After heavy rainfall in 2017, that same road looked like this:
Ark Encounter’s parent company says it “consulted with geotechnical engineers” to mitigate the problem. The solution involved…
… repairs to the supporting base of the roadway, repaving and construction of the road, installation of guard railing adjacent to the road to replace lost fencing, remediating the damaged grading, installation of drainage structures, and construction of the drilled shaft retaining wall along a portion of the road…
That’s why the cost reached nearly $1 million. While the insurance company said “land improvements” were included in the coverage and they would pay for a portion of the bill, they refused to cover the full amount. That’s what Answers in Genesis is so upset about:
By refusing to pay all but a very small proportion of Plaintiffs’ covered claim, the Defendants have failed to meet their Policy obligations and failed to handle Plaintiffs’ claim properly and in good faith, causing Plaintiffs to incur significant additional loss and expense.
Although Plaintiffs have complied with each and every obligation and condition precedent imposed on them under the Policy, Defendants have breached their contractual obligations, acted in bad faith, and violated the Kentucky Uniform Claims Settlement Practices Act by refusing to provide coverage for Plaintiffs’ covered loss.
Oh, the irony of Ken Ham blaming other people for a lack of “good faith”…
Dan Phelps, a professional geologist and president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, has long been a critic of the Ark. He told me yesterday that this rain-induced landslide is a “textbook quality” consequence of “building on the shales of the Kope Formation,” which any “competent geologist” could have told them.
In other words, Ken Ham had to know he was building on land where this kind of damage could occur. What else was he expecting? That doesn’t mean he has no legal case, but if the folks at Ark Encounter are surprised this happened, it’s just further evidence they don’t know much about science or have access to anyone who does.