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Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the editor: Depopulating Citizens

Published:

As the chief financial officer of a company that employs 150 people, I know how challenging it can be to make fiscally responsible decisions. Yet, whether you are dealing with a business or your household budget, it is an absolute must to make good, sound financial decisions. This must also apply to our state government.

As a Clearwater resident, I am lucky to have my home insured through a terrific mutual company where the sole focus of the company is on me and the other members of the mutual. Many of my neighbors are not so lucky, and have been left with no other option than to be insured by Citizens Property Insurance Corp, the state-run insurer of last resort.

Although Citizens is supposed to act as a market of last resort, it underwrites far too many policies in Florida. Because Citizens relies on assessments rather than adequate premiums, all Floridians are at risk for significant taxes if, and when, the next major hurricane makes landfall in Florida.

I read that proposed legislation contains a provision, a new mutual incentive program, that would allow Citizens to loan money to new mutual insurers in an effort to provide a significant reduction in Citizens’ aggregate exposure, thus providing an alternative to Citizens for many policyholders and reducing the potential assessment burden on all Floridians.

Additionally, given the interest rate on the loan from Citizens to a mutual is reasonable, the profit load built into the cost of insurance from a mutual will be less than a similar company using private investor capital. Therefore, insurance from a mutual should be more affordable.

As a true believer in the power of free enterprise, as well as a consumer and CFO, I balk at the idea of subsidizing the state-run Citizens program, and I truly feel the new mutual insurer incentive proposal is a unique private sector solution to the overexposed and underfunded Citizens.

I hope our state’s policymakers seize this opportunity this session.

Regarding “Detroit’s desperate times: Can Motown be saved?” (Other Views, March 18): Yeah, that’s it. Prosperity gods hate Detroit.

Nowhere in the sad story is the fact that Detroit is, and has been, run by Democratic mayors. Tax, spend and do as we say, not as we do. Borrow and spend more. The car business — America’s business — has left Detroit. Hyundai Motor Company has built a billion-dollar-plus auto manufacturing business in America and makes money at it. America’s car business, General Motors, is a health plan that incidentally builds automobiles. GM has more people on its health plan than who build cars. The last three auto plants built by GM are in other countries to control costs.

Detroit has borrowed and spent until no one will loan it another dime. Its hands are out to the state and federals. President Obama owes it to Detroit for the votes that helped put him in office. But it’s not the voters’ fault for electing Democrats and their policies. The prosperity gods just hate Detroit. Can’t figure that one out? It’s small wonder the movie “RoboCop” was based in the future Detroit. Robert Pollard

Ruskin

To adapt one of Mark Twain’s famous quotes, “The rumors of the death of the Tampa/Hillsborough International Protocol Office have been greatly exaggerated.”

A colleague from El Salvador is sadly misinformed, and I really wish he had gotten in touch with the other honorary consuls or — better yet — the new director of THIPO, Deborah Wilkinson.

The Consular Corps lives and thrives under the leadership of our colleague Arthur Savage, honorary consul of Denmark and Norway, who just presided over a very productive lunch meeting attended by our mayor, Bob Buckhorn, and Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce president Bob Rohrlach, as well as the diplomatic representatives of Germany, Italy, Holland, France, Mexico, Greece, Austria, Estonia, Russia and Lithuania, just to name a few.

Acknowledging the contributions made by Irma Bridgeford over the years, Wilkinson presented a new agenda, which provides for greater involvement in the community, designed to “brand” the Tampa Bay area by helping the Corps fulfill its mission of representing their “home” countries.

Honorary consuls are U.S. residents or citizens who care about the countries they represent (and many of us immigrated from) as much as we care about our districts — in my case, Southwest Florida, including the Tampa Bay area. We want to get involved; otherwise, we wouldn’t be doing these volunteer jobs.

Wilkinson’s agenda balances the interests of the foreign consuls and honorary consuls and its stakeholders in the Tampa Bay region to create a win–win situation for all. Stay tuned for more awareness of how international the Tampa Bay area really is.


The writer, an attorney, is honorary consul of the Federal Republic of Germany.

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