LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Eye of the storm

Jun 20, 2008

Florida Today--June 20, 2008

Readers express a variety of opinions in their letters to FLORIDA TODAY.

A pledge to hold insurers accountable

In 2007, three years after one of the worst hurricane seasons in the state’s history, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that provided insurance companies with a cheaper financial safety net to insure Florida properties.

In exchange, it demanded the insurers pass along the savings by cutting homeowner coverage prices. Unfortunately, those companies have made only token — if any — reductions in their rates.

Residents are frustrated and I don’t blame them.

No matter how much the current Legislature accomplishes this year, holding insurance companies accountable is going to be an ongoing challenge for the people Floridians elect to represent their interests in Tallahassee.

I know what homeowners are up against. Like you, our family owns hurricane-vulnerable property. Like you, we’ve seen our rates rise to budget-straining proportions.

I promise you that if you honor me with your vote this fall and send me to represent District 80 in the Florida House of Representatives, I will do my best to:

Keep Citizens Insurance Corp. — our self-insurer — from bankrupting the state and I will refuse to allow private insurers to pad their profits on our backs.

It will take courage, diplomacy and close attention.

Debbie Mayfield

Republican candidate

District 80 Florida House

Vero Beach

Private companies are just doing business

The night before GOP state Sen. Bill Posey announced his run for retiring Republican Congressman Dave Weldon’s seat I attended a function at which he was the speaker.

The topic was insurance and he was detailing the myriad ways in which the state was forcing the insurance industry to do things it doesn’t want to.

Toward the end of his presentation, he said the free market wasn’t “ready, willing and able” to tackle the issues, so the state must do it.

When the time came for questions, I asked how long the state has been regulating the insurance industry.

He said, “Since Christ was born.” I asked how, then, could the free market have failed, when the market for insurance in the state has never been free?

I don’t think he ever answered the question directly. Instead he began comparing the insurance industry to the mob, going so far as to call them “murderers” for not paying claims in life or death situations.

The inability of an elected official — especially a Republican — to differentiate between criminals that wield guns and initiate force against others, and businessmen that offer services in the market through the principle of voluntary exchange, is frightening.

No private insurance company can force you to do anything.

Matthew D. Nye

West Melbourne

How are Midwest homeowners faring?

With the Midwest being ravaged by tornadoes and floods, are the insurance companies out there raising rates to all-time highs or just dropping policies altogether?

Or does this rule only apply to those lucky enough to be in hurricane zones?

Ethan Masselli


Insurers should be putting people first

Thank you for your articles on the subject of the poor, and encouragement for a workable solution to the soup kitchen dilemma, which is, unfortunately, only the tip of the iceberg as far as the problems that the needy are facing today.

It is ironic, therefore, that two editorials on one of last month’s pages had an uncomfortable connection.

I hope the first editorial on the Daily Bread soup kitchen was not an omen that people needing those services would grow in number — in part because of the insensitivity or lack of foresight of the second subject — Allstate Insurance — to the plight of the average homeowner here in Florida.

Case in point:

My State Farm bill has come down from about $750 to about $700 for the next six-month period. This is not a meaningful difference, considering the 100 percent increase over a two-year period, while my salary has note increased.

Given the fact State Farm has bought advertising time on every major sporting event for the last two years, including the Super Bowl, it begs the question:

Should they channel that advertising budget into the state catastrophic reserve fund where it belongs, and possibly bring down our premiums a little more?

Barbara Baker

West Melbourne

Insurance customers can’t catch a break

I can’t believe the insurance companies want higher premiums to build reserves when there are no hurricanes, and want reimbursement for excessive damages when there are hurricanes.

Makes me wonder where that leaves us and where our state protection agencies are.

R. A. Bigda

Palm Bay