State rules insurance policies can't be canceled
Maryland Insurance Commissioner John A. Donaho has announced that the insurance policies of Marylanders serving in the Persian Gulf cannot be canceled while they are on active duty.
In a Notice and Order involving more than 1,400 insurance companies licensed to operate statewide, Donaho said life insurance policies "may not be terminated by the insurer because of any military service of the insured, and unless the policy contains war restrictions, benefits under the policy may not be reduced by reason of any loss resulting directly or indirectly from services of the insured in the military, naval or air forces in the United States."
Donaho also stated: "Cancellation or notice of cancellation of automobile coverage or refusal to renew or issue such coverage by reason of the insured's active military duty will be deemed unjustified and considered a violation" of the Annotated Code of Maryland.
B'NAI B'RITH MISSION
Kent Schiner of Baltimore, the president of B'nai B'rith International, was to lead a Jewish American "mission of victory and peace" to Israel, departing today.
Schiner and his delegation already had arranged to travel to Jerusalem for annual business of B'nai B'rith, the world's largest Jewish organization.
However, said Schiner, "What was planned as a solidarity mission has now turned into a mission of peace and victory. We are gratified that we will be privileged to celebrate with the people of Israel."
Schiner also has written a congratulatory letter to President Bush on the victory in the Persian Gulf war.
In his letter, Schiner suggested that the war might help the U.S. government better understand "the kind of mentality and hostility that its valiant ally, Israel, has long faced -- and still confronts -- among her Arab foes. We look forward to the #F resumption of a peace process aimed at resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict through direct negotiations that will guarantee the safety and security of the democratic state of Israel and its courageous citizens."
Two New York stockbrokers with Alex. Brown & Sons in Baltimore have donated $25,000 to the United Service Organizations so soldiers in the gulf can make free long-distance phone calls home.
The donation by Mark Branigan and Mark Fisher, said to be one of the largest private gifts made during the war to the military service organization, should pay for about 2,500 phone calls, according to the USO.
"We all want to do our part to support the troops," Branigan says. "We are personally fortunate to be in a position to make a difference for these families."
SADDAM VS. DON
On the Eastern Shore, there is a blunt, no-nonsense mistrust of Saddam Hussein.
While some portable billboards featured the benign "Support our troops," others were a little more bloodthirsty. "Wanted Dead or Alive: Saddam Hussein" was the message outside a car wash in Somerset County. There were variations throughout the Lower Shore.
However, one person can vie with Hussein for Most Unpopular, according to some residents: Gov. William Donald Schaefer.
Making the rounds are variations of jokes in which Hussein is frustrated to learn that the governor is considered meaner, or crazier, than the Iraqi president is.
If you know of an interesting story about how the war is affecting life on the home front, please call 332-6478.
PERSIAN GULF SHOWDOWN
Patrick Ercolano and Laura Lippman contributed to this report.