Car InsuranceEditor: Geographic location may be an...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

January 16, 1991

Car Insurance

Editor: Geographic location may be an accepted and legally permissible method for automobile insurance companies to set their rates, but that does not mean it is a legitimate one. Does the person living, say, off the 6500 block of York Road expose the insurance company to half the risk of someone living off the 6300 block?

There will be more accidents in the city because there are more miles of road and more cars being driven, but where do these cars come from? I'm a city resident; I drive less than five miles to work round-trip in an 18-year-old car with only liability insurance, and I put about 4,000 miles a year on my car. I haven't made a claim against my insurance company since living in the city, some 12 years.

I have colleagues at work who drive 20, 30 or more miles, one way, in late model vehicles with full comprehensive and collision insurance. Why should I have to pay more for insurance? Who is really putting the insurance company at greater risk?

In a recent letter, John J. Andryszak of USF&G lamented about suburban and rural residents having to pay more so city residents could pay less. The fact is, the current situation is now just the opposite. City residents, in many cases those least able financially, are subsidizing artificially low rates for their counterparts across the city line or on the other side of the beltway. The parallels with taxes found by the Linowes commission are striking.

Lawrence S. Wasserman.

Baltimore.

AIDS Risk

Editor: I am an emergency room physician who, along with my co-workers, am exposed daily to the very real risk of AIDS transmission from patients who are drunk, psychotic, violent or very ill.

If we are exposed to the blood, sweat or spit of one of these patients, under current state law, we are not allowed to find out if this patient carries the AIDS virus without the patient's written consent. It is not uncommon for a patient to refuse to give permission for this test.

Here is a very unjust situation. We have a real and scientifically based risk from these patients, and we cannot even know if the patient has infected us with a fatal illness.

Yet the state is proposing mandatory testing for physicians who have virtually no chance of transmitting the disease to patients.

I believe it is time for the medical system to demand mandatory AIDS testing from patients, especially if someone has sustained a needle stick injury or other exposure from a patient.

All medical staff should have the right to know if the patient they are treating is AIDS positive so that they can take appropriate steps to protect themselves and their families.

Douglas G. Carroll, M.D.

Brooklandville.

Family Matters

Editor: Del. Lawrence LaMotte makes a good point in his statement, ''You cannot legislate good family communications.''

But does that necessitate allowing minors free access to abortions without parental notification? What happens to family communications when the medical community is allowed to cut the parents completely out? What effect will this have on the next generation of families?

I can't help but wonder how much of this aversion to notifying parents springs from real concern for the teen-agers' well-being and how much is concern for keeping the abortion clinics free from the legal entanglements of age verification. With a total green light, what is to stop abortion clinics from moving from simply providing abortions to persuading naive young girls to have abortions?

Perhaps these abortion rights activists could put some of their energy into setting up counseling teams for girls who fear their parents' reaction instead of fighting vehemently to lock parents out of the lives of their children before they even realize the door has closed.

Georgia Corso.

Baltimore.

Stick to Stocks

Editor: State Sen. John Pica's comments concerning the insurance commissioner's findings regarding the territory rating system are disturbing and short-sighted. While the present rating system is not perfect, actuarial data supports significant aspects of the system.

Senator Pica wants to make the commissioner an elective position. In other states that have done so, the office has been used as a springboard to enhance political aspirations, to the detriment of the insurance companies and, in the long run, the consumer.

In light of the savings and loan crisis and now the commercial banks, it is imperative the integrity of the insurance companies is not compromised by self-serving politicians with little knowledge and understanding of the insurance industry.

Senator Pica perhaps feels he would make a good insurance commissioner. I suggest he stays in the stock brokerage industry which has enough of its own problems.

Peter R. Brooks.

Hunt Valley.

Robert Linowes

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