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Proposition 103 Insurance 'Mess'

December 25, 1988

Congratulations on your Op-Ed column by William C. George ("Soon We'll See Where, if Anywhere, Insurance Surplus Will Come From," (Nov. 24). It is the most measured, intelligent treatment of the insurance mess that I have yet seen.

George introduces into the discussion the element which has been sorely lacking: the fact that insurance is a product of economics, and the economics of insurance is based on mathematics. He points out that "if the Legislature has a chance to act, it should have a full exposition of all the relevant evidence. . . ." Up to now, relevant evidence is lacking.

On the other hand, the Legislature has already had a chance to act, and has failed miserably. I see no reason to believe they will do any better a second time.

George mentions that "Proposition 103 is in limbo pending the Supreme Court's study of its constitutionality." While I am a conservative with regard to the role our top appellate court should usually play, in this instance I would dearly love to see the court take an activist stance. Neither the Legislature nor the governor's office has shown the slightest willingness or ability to confront our insurance problems. If the court will this once take the initiative in spelling out what Proposition 103 intended to accomplish, curb the extremes, narrow down the interpretation of the content so that it makes sense, think what a tremendous boon it would be for California!

Looked at the other way, a finding of "yes" or "no" on the constitutionality of 103 resolves nothing. We would have the same mess to wade through as to the whole problem, or as to elements of it piecemeal.

JOHN H. BARRETT

Encinitas

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