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Insurance Commissioner

October 24, 1994

Although your endorsement of state Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) for insurance commissioner properly recognizes the integrity of both candidates as "more interested in getting things done than in ideological posturing," your reasoning for the endorsement based primarily on campaign contributions is misleading (editorial, Oct. 12). It is my understanding that the majority of Assemblyman Charles Quackenbush's (R-Cupertino) "industry" funds come from persons and groups who may earn their living from the industry, but are not directly employed by the companies, not unlike the law firms who represent the insurance industry and contribute to Torres' campaign. You also failed to recognize that Torres receives the endorsement of most trial lawyers in the state, who earn enormous incomes from the industry because of liberal tort and workers' compensation laws. These incomes are ultimately borne by the insurance consumer in the form of higher premiums.

As a supporter and adviser to Quackenbush, I can assure you that his understanding of the insurance business is not only thorough, but also refreshing in its approach. His business experience prior to public service will bring administrative skills that will improve operational efficiency within the department as well as encourage insurance company operational efficiency through administrative review and the rate-approval process. His concepts of auto, homeowners and workers' compensation insurance reform are fair to all business entities dependent on insurance, but most importantly, strongly favorable to the insurance consumer.

I would suggest that voters demand meaningful and precise answers from the candidates on insurance issues affecting their daily lives. In this area, I believe Quackenbush has the upper hand.

THOMAS W. MATUSH

Covina

* Your endorsement of Torres should be reconsidered. Torres' election will only lead to a greater deterioration of the insurance marketplace for consumers. Torres is greatly misinformed of the insurance climate. He stated in an interview to the Professional Insurance Agents that the insurance market seems to be quite strong. Has not Torres heard of the Farmers moratorium, and the State Farm restriction for homeowners? Twentieth Century and Republic are leaving. Safeco is deciding whether to leave. Ohio Casualty, and Crum & Forster have left. Many other companies have left due to the regulatory conditions. Torres has done good work, but his "Homeowners' Bill of Rights" is regulatory strangulation, and his bill for mandatory fertility coverage would be regulatory bankruptcy if passed.

Torres' election as insurance commissioner will only exacerbate an already depressed insurance marketplace. We in the insurance industry call it a hard market. Ask anyone trying to get insurance on an older home.

THOMAS A. GONZALES

Monterey Park

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