Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - May 13, 1970, Lethbridge, Alberta
Wednesday, May 13, 1970 THE LETHBRIDGE HERALD 5 Carl T. Rowan Auto Insurance: A Crooked Mess WASHINGTON I was aghast recently when an insurance company asked to insure an 18-year-old's car for a year. And this amount was arrived at with no blemishes on his record! At those rates he "rebuys" the car every two years or he gives up the young man's lux- ury of having wheels. A few days later, a woman I know had the front of her car damaged. One auto repair company said flatly it didn't want the job unless she had repair authorization from au insurance company. The implication was that they could milk the insurance company for money they wouldn't dare ask from an in- dividual. I mentioned this outrageous. situation to an insurance man who replied: "Any day you feel like getting drunk, or cry- ing a lot, let's sit down and I'll tell you about the crooked- ness and injustice in the auto insurance business that you won't believe." I haven't felt like weeping over car insurance, when so many other crying shames Joseph Kraft, abound, but 1 have seen a study just released by the Depart- ment of Transportation This study ought to make it clear to anyone that the auto insurance business needs ma- jor reforms not a tuneup, but a complete overhaul. Ac- cording to DOT'S Deputy As- sistant Secretary Richard J. Barber, the study showed that our auto accident compensa- tion system "is working very poorly and very inadequately. It is indeed startling and ter- 'ribly disturbing from both an economic and human stand- point." Here are a few of the find- ings which led to this conclu- sion: of serious, crashes and their dependents got back only half of their total personal and family economic losses, and only 40 per cent of this recovered money came from auto in- surance. Many persons have had to move, borrow money, and change their standard of living as a result of their losses. average victim with a loss of or more re- covered only 30 per cent, while the average victim with a loss of less than got back more than twice the amount of loss. On the average, 16 months elapsed between the time of the accident and final pay- ment, and even longer when the loss was over Barber called the findings "shocking" and "startling." Shocking they are but not startling. We've known for years that the multi-billion dol- lar car insurance industry is in a mess. Staff members of the House Judiciary Committee concluded after a 1967 survey: "By any objective standard, performance of the auto-insur- ance business in e United States is unsatisfac- -.-y. The system is slow. and expensive. The companies and organizations involved in furnishing this service to the public in many respects do a poor job." Individual horror stories abound: Virginia womat fad her policy cancelled la i .'ear because of "unfavorable in- formation" the insur s r c e company received "c-r.r-sra- ing personal habits" her household. Investigation re- vealed the cancellation was based on the report of an Atlanta credit bureau that the woman's husband was a drunk false information given by someone who barely knew Hie man. Florida man, injured when his car was hit in two accidents, couldn't collect on either claim because each in- surance company involved said the injuries occurred in the other accident. New York attorney's policy was cancelled after his car had been lu't in a parking lot while he was asleep in his apartment. a million policy- holders and claimants most of them blacks and other minorities were vic-tims of the failure of 110 auto in- surance companies in a 10- year period. There are other stories of in- flated claims pursued by law- yers with an eye on the 30 per cent cut they get of the settle- ment, of hanky-panky with in- surance adjusters, of premium rates rising 50 to 100 per cent. Because of legal fees, investi- gations, court costs inefficien- cy, and other factors it costs insurance companies to pay out in benefits. We are not talking about penny-ante stakes involving a small portion of the American public. There are some 100 mil- lion motorists in the U.S. The DOT study, which covered 1967, estimated that they were involved in accidents an average of 25 every min- ute. These claimed lives and left more than 2 million persons injured, of them seriously. The total compensable losses" to the dead and seriously in- jured was put at billion. The DOT report is an interim phase of a two-year investiga- tion the government is making. Hopefully, the summer will bring some conclusions and re- forms. If Uncle Sam offers protec- tion to men who buy stocks, or women who buy diet drinks, surely it can do something for 100 million motorists who are being taken for a ride by those who exploit the auto insurance situation. (Field Enterprises, Inc.) Far-Reaching Costs Of Cambodian Strike Yff ASH MGTON American troops entered Cambodia in search of the main enemy headquarters. They end up burning a bunch of dusty na- tive villages. Presumably some damage will be done to Communist sup- ply lines, stores, and plans. But for how long? The White House estimates it will take eight or nine months for the Communists to build back to where they were. President Nguyen Van thieu of South Vietnam told Osborne Elliott of Newsweek magazine that the effects would last "two, three months five, six months." Then what? The White House has not yet figured out how to do an encore. President Thieu is not reticent. He laughingly told Newsweek: "We will go in again when it is necessary." What this teaches once again is that there is no way to end the Vietnamese war by conventional military force, that the only good way out is to negotiate out. But what does the latest set of strikes do for the negotiating possibility? Well, the Russians and those leaders of Hanoi who. favor a negotiated settl e m en t are plainly on the defensive. That is the meaning of the Com- munist boycott of the Paris peace talks. That is why Le Due Tho, Hanoi's chief nego- tiator, has left Paris back- tracking from early indications of sympathy with the idea a new Geneva conference Taat is why Premier Alexei of Russia, when asked abiia: a Geneva meeting at his pr.ss conference the other .'e- plied: At this point it ii essary to stop the not to hold conferences." Similarly the Conr-irujst Chinese and their in Hanoi have had a new buCit. for their theory of raaint.Jr.Jiig a perpetual guerrilla in Indochina. That is why P is plugging as never befoi the insurgent liberation movei of Cambodia, Laos, and Suuth Vietnam. That is why i; making such a big deal the presence of Chinese I1 ier Chou En-lai at a meeting in south China of all the Communist parties to the Vietnam war. No doubt a temporary cloud- ing of the negotiating prospect would be justifiable if the great centre of the Communist power was being put on notice to be- have by the show of. strength in Cambodia. But the Russians are not getting that message at all. On the contrary, at his press conference Mr. Kosygin was confident to the point of joking about Western speculation on inner Kremlin politics. He spoke of a new burst of activ- ity by Soviet pilots in Egypt with bland impunity. For the United States is not exactly in good position to complain about Stock up for the Holiday Weekend Prices effective 14-15-16 CHUCK ROAST COG Red or Blue Brand Beef T .69' Steak Red Brand Beef, Ib. COTTAGE ROLLS Cryovac Halves Ib. 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Vine Ripened, Canada No. 1 fttrmtt Californio' VuirOTS New Canada No. 1 3 69' 3 GRAHAM'S FOOD MARKET 708 3rd Avenue South PHONE AND SAVE FREE DELIVERY GROCERIES 327-5434, 537-5431 MEATS 327-1812 OPEN THURSDAY TILL 9 P.M. potential Soviet threats while the Cambodian invasion is go- ing forward. Indeed, the deep- er fact is that the Nixon ad- ministration is too obsessed by Cambodia even to focus seri- ous attention on the grave challenge in the Near East. In the same confident vein, Mr. Kosygin announced that Cambodia might cause tne Russians to reconsider their position in the aims control raiks now under way in Vienna. At best that means that Mos- cow, far from being scared, is applying against ihe United States the a d m inistration's famous policy of linkage the policy of saying you behave or we won't play Dall in the arms control talks. At worst, there could be gen- uine harm .done to the pros- pects for arms control. For the Soviets are negotiating on the assumption that agreement will register rough parity between the Big Two. They have finally begun to believe former Defence Secretary Robert McNamara's assurances that neither side could gam from an increase in strategic weaponry. But if they begin to get the wind up, if they are convinced that this country is creating a climate of confron- tation in order to go one up, then they could easily back away from any agreement. So far, most of these bleak developments are potent i a L They could be undone by a re- versal of American policy. But that would mean finally re- jecting the contention of the American military that they can win decisive advantages in Vietnam. It would mean under- standing that President Thieu is advocating a policy of per- petual war. It would mean moving to negotiate by chang- ing the ambassador and the commander in Vietnam in order to pave the way for a new government ready to com- promise with the other side. And doing all those things takes courage the moral courage of convictions, not the kind given to men who think they are (i'ii.1.. Inc.) Earth Drifts From Tlie Christian Science Monitor ATOT much stability on planet Earth these days? Ge- ologists now have located the South Pole in the middle of the Sahara Desert. That is, what was South Pole 450 million yars ago has been inching northward, due to the "sliding action" of the earth's crust, until now it's in southeastern Algeria. A front-p age phenomenon! But we'd also like to see, while mankind is having teach-ins on how to save its environment, some publicity about more se- rious changes in the earth's crust. The growth of deserts due to neglect and abuse, for in- stance. Stability and earth-strength can be rebuilt, with care and wisdom. Note that hi some areas of northern Israel birds are singing, rain falls and crick- ets chirp, because of reforesta- tion after centuries of ne- glect. And then think what more could be restored if Arabs and Jews, North and South Viet- namese, Chinese and Russians would stop their insane con- frontations and wars and begin humbly to devote their energies to restoring their ravaged plan- et. They might even succeed in reversing the drift before it is too late! a uwij Regional Library Expansion From 'Within Our Borders' Alberta Government Publication pAHKLAND REGIONAL Library, which has operated since 1959 covering three counties and one school division in Cen- tral Alberta, has expanded its southern boundary to include the County of Moun- tain View. This means that an additional people will now have available to them the best hi library service, bringing to 000 the population served by the province's only regional library. Service will be chan- nelled through six public libraries and nine school libraries in Mountain View County. The area which has been organized as a regional library for the past 11 years in- cludes the counties of Lacombe, Ponoka and Red Deer (excluding Red Deer city) and the school division of Rocky Mountain, with a combined population of who are served through 13 public and 43 school libraries. Establishment of regional libraries is provided for in the Alberta Libraries Act, administered by the Libraries Division, Cultural Development Branch, Department of the Provincial Secretary. In rural Al- berta, the regional setup provides a larger supporting population for operation of a library, making it possible to give better service; more books, a wider variety of books, any book on request, and qualified librarians. Library technical processes book sel- ection, ordering, and classification are done by the staff of the regional library, giving local librarians more opportunity to provide librarianship assistance to readers. To encourage the establishment of re- gional libraries, the provincial government pays a region an establishment grant of 51 per capita.. A cheque for was recently issued to the Parkland Regional Library to cover its expansion to Mountain View. A regional library is maintained by an annual grant from the provincial govern- ment of 75 cents per capita, and contri- butions from participating jurisdictions of per capita. There'are no library usage fees. Eel-vices are "free for reading, re- ference and information of all residents of the regional library area." Regional library boards, comprised of two representatives from each ting jurisdiction, are completely autono rithou1 c in- flict or irsv. Uir l'ie Institute ..-..-'iiil -rfiws conducteo. Last month Mr. Tom Barnctt, Comox-Alberni's NDP member, added his plea for government consideration of a grart to the Institute, following earlier submissions by Victoria's Liberal MP, Mr. David Groos, and others. ria Daily Times With a suitable reference to the current period of austerity, Privy Council presi- dent Donald S. Macdonald gave the govern- ment's reply: I regret that at Ills present time the government is not in a position to assist the Institute although the government has great respect for its objec- tives." The need for economy in these times is widely recognized. It may seem a trifle in- congruous however, nation c'i! afford to iviiart owed to the Mil hasn't i thousand to ..import an institute for whose objectives the government has such high respect. Or, for that matter, that there appeared to be unlimited funds available to make cupboard doors hang true and to stabilize furniture on the aircraft Bonaventure shorl- ly before it went out of service. Chaos At 'Kennedy' By Marian Virtue (Writing from Funclial. Madeira, a Portuguese Island) Madeira Many of you have read the novel "Airport" by Arthur Haley (wish I hadn't) and likewise many of you may be familiar with lira overcrowded conditions and inadequacies of "Kennedy Airport" in New York. When I left the peaceful island of Ber- muda expecting to be in Portugal for Easter, I had no idea I'd be caught up in what Kennedy Airport officials said was "the worst night we've ever experienced." Over a thousand air traffic controllers had gone on strike. They didn't walk out. They simply phoned in that morning, on the eve of heavy Easier traffic, to say they were "sick." What kind of "sickness" (which not only affected Iv.Y. but controllers all over the U.S.A.) will probably be decided by the Courts. Bermuda airport on departure had re- vealed nothing. It wasn't until we were ready to land at Kennedy for a change of plane, that our captain announced, "Heavy rains coupled with an air controllers' strike." "We'll probably have to circle for about two hours as 50 or more planes are waiting to land." Circling for us meant flying a 60 foot lane back and forth, at an altitude of feet, until control gave orders to and then it would be a slow process from one altitude lane to another. This order didn't come until three and one half hours later. At "Kennedy" chaos reigned supreme. Flights missed, hundreds cancelled, travel- lers slept on airport seats, baggage racks, in wheel chairs and telephone booths, while hundreds more milled about looking com- pletely disgusted. Others argued with offi- cials for immediate accommodation, others headed for trains or to rent cars. All were cheerful as we boarded the big jcl for the flight lo Lisbon but snviles dis- appeared as minutes became hours. After five hour wait, trailing slowly other wait- ir.g planes, like city traffic, we got the "go ahead" sign. Wlren airborne, a sense of relief seemed to permeate UK entire plane 'a relief perhaps, that we were at last on our way, but generally, relief to leave "Kennedy" and New York with all its chaos behind. Portugal, by comparison, seemed so calm, so peaceful, so safe.