I read with interest Randy Schultz’s column “Legislature stalled on property insurance” and concur that it is financially impossible to insure all South Florida homes against a worst-case-scenario hurricane and resent that the best the insurance companies can come up with is reinsurance. I resent it that someone in a foreign country is getting fat off of my insurance premiums.
We have installed every storm protection device the column mentioned and then some, and still pay an outrageous $3,500 per year, and probably more next year. Every homeowner in this country has a horse in this race, so to speak. Earthquakes, volcano eruptions, massive floods, forest fires. drought, mudslides, blizzards, tornadoes and civil insurrections, you name it. Perhaps the time has come to consider a national disaster insurance plan, so every homeowner shares equally the liability for any disaster and creates a fair average cost of premiums.
I’ve been paying homeowner insurance for 41 years and never collected a dime (even through several hurricanes) and I am tired of being hosed. The insurance companies and their cohorts, the banks, may not like this novel approach, but it might be worth investigating. I don’t have the resources to do it myself but perhaps a campaign started by a newspaper could do the trick.
PAUL M. HICKS
National insurers needed in Florida
Randy Schultz’s column “Legislature stalled on property insurance” was on target. One important problem however, is capital.
In 2005, the national companies withdrew from the property market due to the high assessments that were leveled against them for the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons. To make matters worse, then-Gov. Charlie Crist told them to go ahead and leave, as we could well do without them. The truth is, we cannot.
The national companies have the capital and the spread of risk. Reinsurance is so high because the remaining companies only write in Florida, and if there is a hurricane in the state these companies will be affected. The estimate of the cost of reinsurance is 60 cents out of every premium dollar. Add in 25 cents for company expenses and that only leaves 15 cents for claims. Historically, insurance companies pay out much more than 15 cents, even in non-hurricane years.
The way forward is to make Florida attractive for a return of the national market. Citizens also needs to be a windstorm-only company or, better yet, a reinsurance facility. If windstorm is the problem, why is Citizens paying claims for fire, theft and sinkholes? As far as property insurance is concerned in Florida, we’re all in the same automobile doing 100 miles per hour, and knowing that there is a wall up ahead and we’re going to hit it. We just don’t know when.
WILFORD GHIOTO JR.
Port St. Lucie
Capitalist system finds the fair price
Good column on home insurance by Randy Schultz, particularly the impact of assuming the one-in-100-year storm to set rates.
This would be like going into a car dealership and being told: “Our standard for durability is the Rolls-Royce. If you only need a Chevy, you must still pay the price for a Rolls. And this is the standard for every dealership in Florida, as determined by our state legislature.” In a logical marketplace, the customer gets to choose what he/she purchases. If a one-in-50-year rate is what can be afforded/desired, that should be made available.
Of course, that is an oversimplification. Any mortgage company involved would require higher rates, so there would be a trade-off. But that is what capitalism is all about: finding the fair price.
Palm Beach Gardens
Israel is important ally in Middle East
The writer of the letter “Why should Hagel need Israel’s OK?” concluded that Sen. Bill Nelson’s discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pertaining to Chuck Hagel meant that Sen. Nelson was seeking Mr. Netanyahu’s approval. There is a major difference between a senator asking for an opinion and asking for an approval.
The letter-writer should study some of the opinions of some of our military leaders with reference to the benefits the United States derives from our relationship with Israel.
The letter of the same day “We need to put America first” also evinced an underlying antipathy toward Israel.
Not one U.S. soldier has ever died protecting Israel, and the billions in aid to Israel are mostly used to purchase U.S.-made military equipment, which helps our economy.
If Israel “disappeared,” how many more dollars would have to be spent to protect our Mediterranean and Middle East allies from the millions of Islamists in countries who would still hate the West?
WILLIAM K. LANGFAN
Drones fair in war against terrorists
Regarding the debate about the use of drones: The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been defined as a war against terror and terrorists. There is no guarantee of who may hide behind the mask of a terrorist. Thousands of young American men and women have died. Untold numbers suffer from mental problems.
Now there are politicians, Democratic and Republican, who cry out that we have no right to defend our troops on the battlefield by the use of drone aircraft that seek out definitive targets.
The military has made clear that noncombatants are far less likely to be killed, because the drones are aimed at those who want nothing more than to destroy our men and women on the battlefield and ultimately our way of life.
Solar headline was misleading, biased
This is in response to the article “Solar panel products creates perilous waste.” The headline was misleading and indicated an editorial bias.
The article went out of its way to note the relative safety of solar panel production. It seemed more to reflect on the paradox that the solar panel industry is having to deal with — that its production is not as carbon-neutral as everyone would like. As the article stated, “There is no evidence (waste produced by solar panel production) has harmed human health.” This hardly merits the descriptor “perilous.”
Solar is important for our environmental and economic future, and we as consumers do need to know what hazards may be produced by the solar panel industry. I simply fail to see why the article’s headline needed to be changed into something not reflective of its content.
Whoever made this decision seems to want to make solar into a bad guy.
The solar panel makers are dealing with inconsistencies in their industry and wanting to make changes, not setting out to create “perilous” environmental hazards. Big Oil and Big Sugar have done enough of that.
I’d appreciate it if the stalwart newspaper industry would leave the sensationalism and partisanship to the TV and the Internet.
CHARLES A. BROWNING II
West Palm Beach
Editor’s note: Father Charles A. Browning II is associate rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
Time to reform state’s voting laws
Regarding Frank Cerabino’s column “Centenarian courtesy, not voting law, needed”: MIT did a recent study indicating that Florida voters’ wait time was two to three times longer than anywhere else. The Florida Legislature must reform our laws. We do not need to be reminded by the rest of the country of long lines, long hours, not enough days for early voting where necessary, and disenfranchised voters because of these long lines.
REV. GLORIA STANCHAK ALEXANDER
West Palm Beach
As election nears, Scott flip-flops
With an election coming up in 2014, here we go again with Gov. Rick Scott changing his mind about things he was so dead set against, such as the Affordable Care Act, which he spent his own money to defeat. What will he do after getting reelected, reverse his decision on Medicaid?
If anyone cares to do a bit of research, you will find that Gov. Scott’s way of doing business in health care is definitely not above reproach.