IWIF is competing successfully and fulfilling its...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

June 17, 1999

IWIF is competing successfully and fulfilling its mission

The Sun's editorial "Political appointment offers little for workers" (June 2) again painted a misleading picture of the Injured Workers Insurance Fund (IWIF).

In 1990, the Maryland legislature gave IWIF increased independence and empowered it to compete with private providers of workers compensation insurance.

Nearly a decade later, IWIF is competing successfully in Maryland's private insurance marketplace and now provides workers compensation insurance to more than 1 in 5 Maryland employers.

Yet The Sun insists on attacking IWIF for doing just what the General Assembly charged it to do: Behave more like a private company, while providing a guaranteed source of workers compensation insurance for all Maryland employers.

In 1998, IWIF made $5.7 million. Nonetheless, The Sun continues to focus on IWIF's operating losses for the year.

Like virtually all of the private insurers it competes with, IWIF regularly includes investment portfolio results in its bottom line. Our bottom line has shown a profit for 13 consecutive years.

Independent audits and actuarial reviews attest to IWIF's solvency. We've provided this information to The Sun, yet the paper continues to omit complete financial data from its reporting and gives readers a distorted view of IWIF's strong financial position.

The Sun points to bonuses paid to IWIF senior managers and sees something untoward. To retain employees in a highly competitive marketplace, we have instituted a bonus program. These bonuses are smaller than those paid to executives of similar-sized insurers.

Our advertising campaign, which The Sun calls "lavish," is also modest in comparison with those of our competitors.

By any measure, except those manufactured by The Sun, IWIF is doing just as it has been charged: operating in a fiscally sound manner, without a dollar from the state, and providing insurance that regularly ranks Maryland among the five lowest-cost workers compensation states in the nation.

It's too bad Marylanders will never see that story written by The Sun.

Daniel E. McKew

Paul M. Rose, Baltimore

The writers are, respectively, IWIF's chairman of the board of directors and president and chief executive officer.

Crown Petroleum official belongs on IWIF board

The Sun recently published a letter from Ed Rothstein attacking Joe Coale's reappointment to the board of the Injured Workers Insurance Fund (IWIF) ("IWIF board doesn't need corporate mouthpiece," June 8).

Mr. Rothstein did not question Mr. Coale's qualifications, expertise or commitment to IWIF. Nor did he criticize his service in 16 years on its board. Instead, he attacked Mr. Coale's for serving as director of corporate communications for Crown Central Petroleum Corp.

Apparently, Mr. Rothstein will do anything that he can to attack Crown. But to use Mr. Coale's IWIF appointment as a forum to attack Crown Central is unfair to Crown and Mr. Coale.

Mr. Rothstein also failed to note that he works for a union at odds with Crown.

For decades, Crown Central has been one of Baltimore's corporate leaders and the city's business community is happy that Crown still calls Baltimore its home.

We are happy the governor has reappointed Mr. Coale to the IWIF board.

Donald P. Hutchinson, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Greater Baltimore Committee.

Mount Washington wood is crucial to neighborhood

The Sun's article "Activists seek help to preserve woodland" (June 11) incorrectly stated that my husband and I "hold the deed" to the wooded lot at Greenspring Avenue and Northern Parkway.

The deed is held by the Woodland Committee Land Trust Inc., a charitable corporation, which is seeking to get a conservation easement for either the Mt. Washington Preservation Trust or the city Parks Department. My husband and I hold the mortgage only.

We, the mortgagees, will get out of this only what every resident of Mount Washington and the city will: A beautiful wood, which must be protected if Mount Washington is to continue to be one one of the most attractive urban environments on the East Coast.

The state legislature designed "racetrack impact funds" for just such uses as preventing development of such a crucial buffer of land.

Elinor H. Kerpelman, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Woodland Committee Land Trust Inc.

Opposing abortion isn't an extremist position

Michael Kinsley's Opinion Commentary column "GOP candidates dance around abortion debate" (June 13) contends that if you buy the Republican platform guaranteeing "the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life," you're an extremist.

Baloney: The real extremists are not those who hold that the 14th Amendment secures a fetus the equal protection of the laws, but those who claim the constitution sanctions the right to an abortion.

The real extremists are not those who assert that "abortion is equivalent to infanticide," but those who maintain that crushing a tiny head in a partial-birth procedure isn't killing.

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