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Much analysis goes into any company’s decision about whether to self-insure or buy coverage, whether the insurance at issue is property, workers compensation, directors and officers or business interruption, and often there is no one right answer when choosing among self-insurance, a captive insurer or an outside underwriter. You have to wonder what they were thinking or not thinking, the folks in the risk management department at Massey Energy Co., owner of the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia, where a huge methane gas explosion last month killed 29 miners and halted production at one of the big coal company’s main production sites. They have to be kicking themselves over the decision, according to published reports, not to buy business interruption coverage this year.

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