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Published: Thursday, 11/5/2009

Premiums in Ohio are very low

There's no need to create a "fear factor" when it comes to the use of insurance scores. The Ohio Department of Insurance regulates it, having established a credit insurance rule in 2003. This rule provides consumer protection as it pertains to insurer use of credit and prohibits insurers from using insurance scores as the sole determinant in underwriting or rating decisions.

Before calling for an overhaul to Ohio's process of determining insurance premiums, consumers should weigh The Blade's Oct. 28 guest editorial against their pocketbooks.

Ohio has some of the lowest premiums in the country. Our average homeowners insurance expenditure is tied for fifth lowest at $530. The U.S. average is $804. Ohio's $654 average auto premium is 13th lowest, well below the U.S. average.

The Dallas Morning News editorial cited California and Maryland as states to emulate. Consumers are worse off in these states. California's average auto insurance premium is $843 and Maryland's is worse: $949. California's homeowners insurance averages $937 and Maryland's is $721.

States envy Ohio's affordable and competitive market. Consumers benefit from the fact that we have more auto and homeowners insurance carriers than in all but two states.

While the use of insurance scores is greatly misunderstood, the majority of insurance consumers pay less for auto and homeowners insurance with its use.

This isn't on the minds of Ohioans. ODI complaint data shows only 47 related to homeowners insurance costs in 2008. Complaints on auto insurance rates have been declining since 2002 with only 43 last year.

Ohioans aren't penalized by the use of insurance scoring models. In fact, comparing our premiums to states highlighted in the editorial, we should leave well enough alone.

Dan Kelso

President

Ohio Insurance Institute

Columbus

According to your front-page story on Oct. 22, the federal government promised 120 milliondoses of swine flu vaccine bythis timebut has only been able to deliver 13 million.

People might want to stop and consider that these same inefficient individuals are intent on making themselves our health insurance company.

Please forgive me, President Obama, if I am not so enthralled for this to take place.

David Lindau

Wauseon

I got a news flash for the clergymen urging "sensible gun laws:" Carrying a firearm in a liquor establishment, loaded or not, is a felony and plainly displayed in all bars and restaurants. Do you think those fellas really cared about that?

Laws don't mean anything to a criminal. They are only for the guy who's gonna get caught. The 26,000 gun laws already on the books in this country have done absolutely nothing to stop or stem any crime. The incident at Route 66 is an example.

Does anyone really believe those involved, or any criminal for that matter, would register their guns? That's pretty funny.

Instead of using the guns as a whipping boy, let's put the blame where it rests, on the shoulders of the offenders. The clergymen need to find a way to give these young men some sort of moral compass so they can find their way out of the violent culture they are part of today.

Kent Snyder

Westbrook Drive

In response to a recent letter writer's comment that health care is "a benefit you get when you have a job and you work for it" and people should "stop waiting for the next handout and start working for what they want," I hope he never faces losing his job at age 50 because the employer closed, then again at age 59 because the economy nose dived.

Try looking for a job when there are no jobs and no one wants to hire someone who's old but not old enough to retire. And although his spouse can get health insurance through her employer, she works part time and her employer has instituted voluntary/mandatory time off, so the premiums take half her paycheck.

And if you try going without insurance, when you do find a job and are eligible for benefits, pre-existing conditions are not covered for a time to be determined by the insurance company. Try reaching your 50s without having any health issues.

You do everything they say you should - work hard, save, etc. - and then "poof" it's gone. Bad things happen to good people, although probably not in that glass bubble that the letter writer lives in.

Karen Szabo

Swanton

I was having breakfast at a local grill recently when I noticed a young man who seemed to be in his late 20s or early 30s enjoying chili mac with his dad.

He was wearing a T-shirt and on it, instead of the usual senseless slogan or chaotic advertisement, was emblazoned an image of the poet Walt Whitman.

I went over to his table and offered my approval of his shirt. I told him that in college we studied Whitman's "Leaves of Grass." He also shared an affection for that work, but then recommended "I Saw in Louisiana a Live Oak Growing." Later that day, I found the poem he suggested and was moved by its eloquent simplicity and touching sentiment.

I was glad for this encounter with the young man. It made me think that maybe there still is hope to preserve those things that are exceptional about America, including our rich cultural heritage.

Sam Szor

Secor Road

The Oct. 18 editorial and column by Ann McFeatters took aim at seniors, calling a proposed $250 check from the government either a sop (The Blade) or as coming with a guilt trip (Ms. McFeatters). Now, with all the money being handed out to just about anyone the President thinks will help his agenda, why take aim at the seniors?

I am a senior and I vote. However, if the President or The Blade or anyone else thinks a pittance like this will buy my vote, they are seriously mistaken. The idea that we seniors are so feeble-minded that we will go along with anything just for a few bucks is insulting. If it was for $13 billion, I might be tempted but it will be $250.

I for one do not want the President's health-care program nor much else that he has proposed during the last nine months. But what would you like me to do if a check arrives at my mail box? What would you do?

I will cash the check and spend the money any way I choose. Then, if I am given the opportunity to vote on the health program, I will vote no. But of course I won't get that opportunity. So I will vote to remove the rascals from office if I am still allowed to vote next year.

Robert Pflager

Wauseon

My wife and I have been noticing a lot of big, empty TARTA buses running all around the city at all times of the day.

They do seem to have more occupants during school hours. With TARTA's budget at such a deficit you think they would revert to their smaller, more efficient, less polluting buses.

We've ridden buses in major cities where we had to stand and we didn't mind it a bit. TARTA should try this before they cut routes and raise fares.

Mike Bellfy

Honeymaple Lane



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