Take action to protect our rates
Homeowners and business owners beware. Notice that insurance is not in the headlines this year. Well, it is not because the pot is not being stirred in Tallahassee. House Speaker Marco Rubio and House Insurance chairman Don Brown have scheduled a special meeting of the House Insurance Committee. The hearing will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today in Morris Hall in the basement of the House Office Building. The publicized focus of this hearing is to address Office of Insurance Regulation's (OIR) disapproval of Citizens' filing to increase commercial rates by 300 percent.
In September 2007, Citizens filed for a 300 percent increase in commercial (nonresidential business) windstorm rates, which actually translates into between 300 percent for some areas but up to 1,500 percent in other areas of the state. OIR disapproved that increase and mandated a 15 percent increase in these rates.
Legislation passed in the January 2007 special session on insurance temporarily repealed "use and file" statutes that allowed insurers to charge any rate, bill customers and then request approval. The legislation mandated that any increase in insurance rates in excess of 10 percent must be preapproved by OIR.
The perception among many consumer groups is that today's hearing is the first step toward advocating for deregulation of the insurance industry, reinstating "use and file" and supporting other actions supported by insurers.
What does this mean to you, the residents of Pasco County? First, it means business owners will be looking at huge rate increases if the "use and file" is reinstated. The insurance industry will go back to the practice of huge rate increases for all of us without prior approval and without the ability of our insurance commissioner to veto those increases. They are also trying to make Citizens Insurance again the highest insurer in the state.
We may have been able to freeze Citizens rates and get a small premium reduction, but if the insurers get their way in Tallahassee, all our good work will be undone and rates will again skyrocket. What we do, or do not do, this year will show up on your bill next year.
The agenda of the insurance companies is to roll back prior rate review and reinstate arbitration panels. After that, their goal is deregulation. This committee is their first step.
Now you ask, what can we do to stop this madness? Please call Rep. Ron Reagan (850) 488-6341 and tell him to stand up to the insurance companies and stick with the governor and insurance commissioner. Call Insurance chairman Don Brown (850) 488-4726 and remind him that he works for the people of this state, not the insurance companies.
Please take action today. If not, I guarantee you will pay tomorrow.
Ginny Stevans, president,
Having Affordable Coverage
Fancy Wal-Mart shines on crowd | March 8 article
Story on Kmart betrayed bias
I don't know who you spoke to in Kmart, but I was there most of the day and that store was buzzing all day. The store had people in it from the time it opened until later in the afternoon when the storm started. Their customer service is the best of all. You obviously didn't spend much time in the store.
They have layaway, something that Wal-Mart did away with, which is something that the customers want. You certainly didn't give them a fair shake. It is clear to me that you are a Wal-Mart person. Wal-Mart is trying to take over and it is about time that they realized that they can't push everyone around.
When Sam Walton started his stores it was about giving back to America by selling American-made products. Well, that sure is out the door now. To say that I was totally disgusted with your article would be putting it mildly, and I think that you owe Kmart a huge apology.
Debbie Melrath, Hudson
Fancy Wal-Mart shines on crowd | March 8 article
Kmart deserves our support too
I found the article to be rash, cruel and in poor taste. There was no reason for reporter Jodie Tillman to be so nasty, unkind and gloating because Wal-Mart was getting more business than Kmart on opening day.
Along with another resident mentioned in the article, I, too, am still stewing because I cannot make a right-hand turn to enter Wal-Mart from Beacon Woods Drive. Avoiding U.S. 19 always is a better alternative.
I no doubt will be shopping at Wal-Mart when things calm down, but I still intend on supporting my neighborhood Kmart.
Remember, Kmart was here first, and I hope it continues to serve us and be competition for Wal-Mart.
Elizabeth Bridwell, Hudson
Sorry to see a local gem close | March 11 letter
Restaurant owner says thank you
I would like to thank Barbara and Harry Tadda for their letter to the editor and for all of New Sung Hee's loyal customers and employees over the past 29 years.
As the restaurant's owner, I can say that the decision to close the business was a difficult one; however, my husband and I are ready to start a new phase of our lives that includes spending more time with our four small grandsons. We have been blessed to serve the people of New Port Richey for nearly three decades, and we have developed many friendships that we hope to maintain despite the restaurant's closing.
Mimi Chan, New Port Richey