Letter to the Editor: Reinvent Citizens Property Insurance

Oct 30, 2012

The following article was published in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on October 30, 2012:

Letter to the Editor:  Reinvent Citizens Property Insurance

Reinvent Citizens

The awesome power of Sandy barreling into the Northeast reminds us in Florida that hurricanes happen. It’s been seven years since Florida has taken a direct hit. In that time Citizens Property Insurance has accumulated over $6 billion in reserves. Now Citizens’ board plans to use $350 million of that reserve to finance weak, undercapitalized insurance companies so they can take on thousands of policies from Citizens.

We need to completely reinvent Citizens and bring it back to its original purpose and scope. Insurance is about risk and the mitigation of that risk.

After Hurricane Andrew devastated South Florida in 1992, the big publicly traded insurance companies withdrew from the Florida market because of the hurricane risk. Hurricane risk comprises wind and flood damage. The federal flood insurance program is in place to cover flood risk. That leaves hurricane wind risk as the primary reason for the insurance industry to reduce its exposure in the Florida market.

Gov. Rick Scott could render a tremendous service to Florida by spearheading a initiative to reinvent Citizens as a hurricane wind insurance company. The new Citizens would have a much lower overhead cost. (Now, Citizens has more than 1,000 employees, with many drawing salaries of over $100,000.) The major national insurers would probably fight to get back into the Florida market if they didn’t have to cover the hurricane wind risk. If we do this right, it won’t stop hurricanes but it would give Florida a sustainable solution.

Robert Cole


No taxes for abortions

In response to the letter “Illegal abortion ordeal”: It simply baffles the imagination that in 1967 and at the age of 21 the letter writer had “zero education in reproductive health,” even after graduating “cum laude” from a college in New York. Sorry, but birth control has been around much longer than that. In fact at the age of 14, in 1963, I was issued birth control pills simply to help reduce menstrual cramps. It was easy to get birth control and the pills only cost $2 a month at that time.

You cannot tell me that at 21 she did not know that unprotected sex could lead to pregnancy. The horrific account of her abortion is sad, and I am not disagreeing with the legalization of abortion. However, I am totally disagreeing with the fact that taxpaying citizens should have to pay for anyone’s birth control or abortion for reasons other than rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health. I certainly agree that sex education should be prevalent in schools, and has been for many years now.

Unfortunately too many women use abortion as a way of birth control, even though we now have the “morning after” pill available. Perhaps if we stopped funding these operations, there would be more use of birth control and fewer abortions. Any pregnancy that results despite using birth control can and should be addressed by the individual, whether it is abortion, adoption or keeping the baby. But not by taxpaying citizens!

Teddy Picard


Protect women’s rights

I want to thank a letter writer for having the courage to write “”Illegal abortion ordeal.” I, too, had an illegal abortion in the 1960s. I first went to Puerto Rico and arrived on the day that all clinics were closed down for a month. My second attempt to find an abortion put me in a part of Philadelphia that was the scariest place I have ever been. I was lucky in that the doctor I found was clean and an M.D. I found a gynecologist in New York who had a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and who saw me after the procedure. Thus, I avoided complications and infections.

We were so alone, those of us who had no access to sex education, birth control or the right to choose what our bodies were for and when. Those of you who have grown up in a different time, please think carefully before you vote. Stand up for the rights of women and vote for President Obama. Our daughters, granddaughters and great-granddaughters should not have to go through what we did.

Sherrod Perkins Keane


Moderates keep balance

Regarding David Brooks’ column “Defining a moderate”: I was impressed by Brooks’ moderate approach to explaining the term moderate as a political label. I have taught Management 101 and firmly believe in the concept of situational leadership/management. That is basically what Brooks is defining as a moderate political concept.

I agree that, historically, the U.S. has been able to survive and prosper because we have been proactive and reactive in response to situations that have confronted us. Think of our political/economic/national picture as a seesaw with a fulcrum in the middle. Our national policies and grass-roots movements tend to be those that keep the seesaw in balance.

Today, one side of the seesaw is weighted down with a sluggish economy, high unemployment and ambiguity about who will be our next president. However, as history implies, we will weather these storms and find some level of balance that can move our country forward. Rather than panic, I prefer to have faith in the American dream and, as a moderate, I will continue to weigh the issues on the basis of how to preserve the tradition of conflict while keeping some level of balance between opposing sides.

The key point for me is something that Brooks does not mention. To maintain some sort of moderate balance, opposing positions must be willing to compromise and that spirit of compromise has been missing, especially in our Congress.

Mary Kennedy Minter


View the original article here:  http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20121030/LETTERS/310309997/-1/news?p=all&tc=pgall