Insurance RatingEditor: I want to commend you for...


May 16, 1991

Insurance Rating

Editor: I want to commend you for publishing a column by Jane Bryant Quinn, "4 different firms provide different ratings for insurance companies," April 28. She advises consumers to examine the ratings assigned to insurance companies by various rating services. This is certainly a prudent step before purchasing any insurance.

In addition to Ms. Quinn's column, you provided a list of life and health insurers which do business in Maryland and have received a rating from Standard & Poor's. A serious error occurred in your compilation of this list.

Lutheran Brotherhood is incorrectly listed as having a ''Bq'' rating, the lowest ''qualified'' rating from S&P. In fact, Lutheran Brotherhood has been assigned a ''AAA'' rating by S&P, the highest rating for an insurer's claims-paying ability.

As a point of clarification, a small subsidiary of Lutheran Brotherhood, Lutheran Brotherhood Variable Products Co., is assigned a ''Bq'' rating. A relatively low rating is commonly assigned to smaller subsidiary companies. S&P's methodology rates them as stand-alone entities, even though they are often backed by financially strong parent firms. This is the case with Lutheran Brotherhood and its subsidiary.

We want to assure our members (policy holders) in Maryland that Lutheran Brotherhood is among the most financially sound insurers in the nation. A recent study by Indiana University Prof. Joseph Belth, cited by Ms. Quinn's column, revealed only 35 companies (out of more than 2,000 rated) received the highest ratings from A.M. Best (A+) and another rating service such as S&P. Lutheran Brotherhood is one of those insurers.

Robert P. Gandrud.


The writer is president and chief executive officer of Lutheran


Bad Business

Editor: Howard County Executive Charles Ecker often says that he wants county government run more like a business. With his continuing inability to make credible appointments to his administration, I really wonder what kind of business he means. The most recent example is the appointment of Joanne Nelson as personnel director.

In your May 1 article, county council member Paul Farragut, D-4th, pointed out that Mr. Ecker has chosen to reward Ms. Nelson, a close personal friend of his campaign manager, with this position while ignoring the fact that she fails to meet the qualifications spelled out in the county code. The code is very specific, requiring a "comprehensive knowledge of the principles and practices of public personnel management" and "six years of increasingly responsible experience in personnel management, including at least four years in a supervisory or administrative capacity." In outlining Ms. Nelson's employment history in the article, your reporter showed she has no experience in personnel management.

This would appear to be another case where the former assistant school superintendent hasn't done his homework, and follows his appointment of developer John Mardall as county administrator. Mr. Mardall's appointment was withdrawn when conflicts of interest came to light. It should also be pointed out that Mr. Mardall had no experience as a public administrator.

It is obvious that Mr. Ecker is more interested in paying back his political debts to campaign loyalists and the land-developing interests than he is in finding qualified public servants to do the job of running county government. This is no way to run a business and it is no way to run government.

. Brian O'Day.

Ellicott City.

Glassy-Eyed VP

Editor: I applaud Kal's rendition of Vice President Quayle on May 7. Kal has captured Quayle's most distinguishing feature -- that glassy-eyed cheerleader's stare.

President Bush is way off base trying to put Quayle's shortcomings off as mere ''bad press.'' Quayle came by those shortcomings naturally. Quayle in no way distinguished himself as anything but the lightweight senator from Indiana. And all the revisionist history, reconstructive surgery and biography padding by his right-wing peanut gallery will not change his lightweight stature.

Tom Jones.

Bel Air.


Editor: Your editorial, "Quayle Unqualified," was not up to your usual standard. You failed to give a valid reason to support your theory, other than negative public opinion.

Dan Quayle has been a good representative, a good senator and a good vice president. Such diverse political figures as Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass; Richard Darman, Republican budget director, and, of course, George Bush, moderate Republican president, applaud his job performance.

Dan Quayle made some political gaffes, to be true. But is an elected official to be judged by his achievements as a politician, or as a legislator?

They are two different job categories.

The press would have us elect the best politician, because popular approval is the standard by which it operates. I challenge the media to find even one example of an error Dan Quayle has made in conducting government business. They can only cite errors in political judgment.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.