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Today's Letters: Surcharge fixes insurance issue

Published April 19, 2007


The insurance problem was driven home when I received a letter from the carrier of my homeowners insurance. They outlined their claims exposure as a reason not to write new policies and eventually drop existing clients. However, the last line stated they would continue to serve my life insurance, banking and investment needs. That is the problem. The insurance industry wants to cherry-pick Floridians' wallets.

The premiums have risen to a point that the average consumer can no longer afford the appropriate coverage on a policy. Others are just dropped after years of loyal renewals. Insurance is based on the principle of spreading the risk over a large area or group so as to safeguard against economic disaster to one person or area. Insurance companies spread their risk over the various lines of coverage - property, casualty, life, annuity and special lines. Now the major insurance carriers have split their property and casualty from their life and annuity lines to show a greater loss factor. Yes, they had large losses in 2004 and 2005; however, they had record profits in 2006.

The solution proposed is establishing a catastrophic loss fund also known as reinsurance that allows the individual insurance carriers to place a limit on their financial exposure in the event of a major loss. The state will likely form this fund, thus placing all the residents of Florida at risk again in the event of a major loss. The hope is that this will lower or contain the premium cost to the consumers.

Proposal: The legislators enact a surcharge or fee on every life, annuity, and investment product offered by every insurance carrier doing business in Florida.

These fees or surcharges should be indexed to the amount invested or premium collected. The funds collected should then be placed in the catastrophic fund. Multiple billions are collected, and insurance companies realize astronomic profits each year from these types of products sold to residents of Florida. However, these same parent companies of insurers do not want to help the property casualty market in this same state.

Now is the time for a bold move and this surcharge is it. The fight will be hard as the insurance lobbyists are armed with millions of our insurance dollars to spend getting their way in Tallahassee. Now is the time to fight for the people. The companies will not pull out because the money is here. For those who do, their fee or surcharge on related investment products should be raised accordingly.

Hugh Townsend, New Port Richey

Some thoughts about gun shows

A letter writer seems to be making preposterous conclusions. First, that an occasional gun show in Pasco County has contributed to an increase in the county's and the state's crime rates, and secondly, that the state's dramatic decreases in crime rates had nothing to do with the tough anticrime bills enacted by our Legislature over the past 18 years, coupled with a very successful concealed weapon carry program for law- abiding citizens.

Bureau of Justice Statistics conclude that gun shows are by far the least favored means for felons to illegally acquire firearms, and that 92 percent were acquired from licensed vendors, family, friends, street buys or other illegal sources.

Creating laws that put legal burdens only on gun shows makes no sense. Once a person leaves gun show property, or travels to another county, local gun show laws no longer apply. The vast majority of Florida's counties agree. Any changes in firearm laws properly are the business of our state Legislature and governor so that any such laws are uniform from county to county throughout the state.

The writer demonstrates an indifference toward constructive firearm legislation, such as the 10-20-life law, and a strong opposition to all laws which bolster each and every citizen's right to keep and bear arms for the purpose of self-defense. His slant on gun shows is another reflection of his antigun agenda.

Lee Hanson, Hudson

Calling 911 can't become a gamble

In 1979, I had the good fortune of inventing the first Heimlich maneuver teaching simulator. I formed a nonprofit education program for students in Grades 3 and above and traveled throughout the United States. We also toured many schools here in Florida. Thousands of Florida students had the opportunity to practice the Heimlich maneuver. Several students as young as 8 actually saved someone from choking to death as a result of attending this educational program.

The beauty of this emergency first aid technique is its simplicity to learn and perform. Further, the Heimlich maneuver was demonstrated in countless motion pictures and television programs for years. Many lives were saved as a result of someone just watching a movie or TV production.

I find it appalling that a person who is entrusted with a life line such as 911 was unable to verbally instruct a potential rescuer to perform the Heimlich maneuver - a first-aid technique that a child can administer and save lives.

Why does it always take a tragedy to fix a weak or broken system? 911 operators who are not certified in basic first aid should not be allowed near a telephone until they are certified.

Robert Heller, Port Richey

Share your views

The Pasco Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length (250-300 words maximum as a rule). Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address and telephone number. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed.

Send your letter to Pasco Times, 11321 U.S. 19, Port Richey, FL 34668, or by fax to (727) 869-6233 or go to

Fill out the form to supply us with your personal information, the subject line, and type your letter in the space provided. You can also cut and paste a letter that you have prepared elsewhere in your computer. When you are done, hit the button that says "Submit My Letter."

[Last modified April 18, 2007, 23:16:01]

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