THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

An unfair plan for property insurance

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May 18, 2008

I read your story today with great interest. ("Cape owners avoid big hike in insurance," May 9.) I live in New Bedford and must buy insurance through the FAIR Plan.

My insurance is approximately $500 per year, the assessed value of my condo is only $55,000, and I live almost in Freetown, 10 miles from the ocean in a brick building on the third floor. I highly doubt my condo will be destroyed by a hurricane. The pricing of the FAIR Plan is very unfair.

DANIEL MERLINE, New Bedford

Nothing to support rise in premiums
It was a pleasure to read your piece as it gave those of us who have an economic gun to our heads for so long by the home insurance folks some feeling of relief. It seems as though the home insurance industry did not do their homework and came forward without any data to support their higher rates.

When I ask the question about whether people have had a homeowner's insurance claim, the usual answer is, "No, I never had one." While my sample is limited, I have as yet to meet anyone who ever made a claim. I never had one, and we have owned property for decades!

It is interesting to think about the lack of a rationale for an increase in premium. One wonders just how much data supported the previous rate increases.

HOWARD LLEWELLYN, Marstons Mills

A dysfunctional banking system
Finally, the real story is being told regarding the housing market and short sales/foreclosures. ("Lenders offer little help in foreclosures," May 12.) Thank you for digging deeper into what has, up until today, not been discussed. The federal government wants to continue to throw taxpayer dollars at the banks to "bail out" people in need. The banks' system is not working. In my office alone we have six solid buyers with offers submitted to the banks for over two months and waiting for answers.

Thank you for getting to the real problem - bank's processing system. As far as I can see they are benefitting once again. Why continue to allocate federal funds to the banks?

EILEEN JONAH-DALY, Annmarie Jonah Realtors, Lynn

Credit cards raise everyone's costs
Credit card payments are not more popular because of the price of gas ("Gas stations offering credit, cash discounts could lose customers," May 11.) - they had become more popular because increasing numbers of people are using credit cards cash as a personal habit or "convenience." To me, it has seemed like one more instance of the piggy, I'm the only one that matters, behavior that's all too common nowadays. Using a credit card because you think it's more convenient for you harms us all (and of course does you no favor either because studies have shown you spend more when you use credit rather than cash) through increased costs foisted on struggling merchants. Cash payers deserve a bonus.

ELIZABETH A. BOLTON, Medford

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