Editor’s Scratchpad

Monday, December 31, 2001

Give relief where it’s due

In 1992, insurance companies decided to stop insuring island homeowners against hurricanes because of huge payouts from Hurricane Iniki. The state Legislature then established the Hurricane Relief Fund. We were told that a hurricane could flatten our homes and we may get nothing or we may get reimbursed for a portion of our loss, depending upon how much money was in the fund at the time and how many homeowners suffered damage.

I paid about $1,000 a year for eight years, as did many others, for some measure of protection. Some people chose not to participate.

Although it was better than nothing, the fund gave no guarantees like ordinary insurance, so the argument that the money shouldn't be returned to homeowners because insurance premiums aren't returned just doesn't wash.

Island homeowners paid into this fund strictly to guard against losing everything in the event of a hurricane, not with the intention that our money be used to balance the budget or for any other reason. There are only two fair choices: Give the money back to those of us who paid it, or save it for the next hurricane.

Charlotte Phillips

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