Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

November 12, 2013

Assignment of carriers risky business

Dear Editor:

The Oct. 29 edition of the Mt. Vernon Register-News printed a news story entitled, “County makes insurance assignments.” The story caught my attention because I thought it was rather odd that the board would assign, dictate, or limit particular local agents to selected underwriters.

At no time do I remember any actions in the past that curtailed the normal business practices of local insurance agents and limit or assign underwriters from which they could obtain a quote. As for as I remember, previous boards practiced a simple, straightforward, free market approach for insurance bids in which any local agent could acquire a quote from any carrier in the underwriting business. As I understand it, if two or more local agents obtained the lowest quote from the same carrier at the same price, the board was free to select one agent or the other. Usually two criteria were invoked to make the selection. One, the board might consider which agent might give the better service or which agent might consider reducing his commission.

With this new bidding process in place for awarding contracts to insurance agents, manipulation and abuse seems much more likely to me. With the previous process abandoned and now the assigning of particular underwriters to local agents may seem of little importance, but I think those familiar with the insurance business know which underwriters are more likely to give lower bids for municipal or county business. With such knowledge, the one making the assignments may have the appearance, at least, of favoritism or of assigning a particular carrier to a favored local agent. I think that setting up a process like this just continues to undercut the confidence that the public has for our governmental units regardless of whether or not any unethical behavior results from the process.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Teachers unions' destructive behavior You can always count on the national teachers unions to behave badly at their annual conventions, and they certainly didn’t let us down this month. In doing so, however, they let down many of their members, along with students who are working hard to

    July 26, 2014

  • Workers of the world, curb your ambitions A group of Democrats introduced legislation this week to protect low-paid shift workers from last-minute changes in their schedules. The idea fits into an intriguing category of economic activism: Not trying to lift low-paid workers out of poverty, n

    July 26, 2014

  • State of the reunion ‘Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 26, 2014

  • Fear indifference ‘Perhaps the Catholic church would volunteer to pony up some cash for the illegals’ care then? Hmm?”“Pope should stay out of it. Matter of civil laws, not church laws.”“Thinking that the pope should want the illegals to go to Argentina to get better

    July 25, 2014

  • A push for felon voting rights If advocates have their way, voting rights could be a new reality for the nation’s incarcerated.Full voting rights for felons is as hot a topic in Washington as voting rights in reverse pushed by voter-ID-tickled Republicans. But with new legislation

    July 25, 2014

  • Big insurers need better oversight Could Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. threaten the stability of the financial system? The U.S.’s top regulators are asking themselves this question as they consider whether Berkshire and other large insurers should come under Federal Reserve

    July 25, 2014

  • Questions for Obamacare after the ruling Tuesday, I outlined what we knew about Halbig v. Burwell, the case in which a federal appellate court ruled that subsidies for purchasing insurance under Obamacare can only be made available on marketplaces established by states. Now I propose to out

    July 24, 2014

  • Pensions not the problem I see in last night’s Register-News paper that James Rippy has attempted to enlighten us on pensions in Illinois. I also notice he has written so often he no longer has the title “guest columnist.” It is obvious he has the time and energy to work on

    July 24, 2014

  • Impasse threatens border solution After more than a year of contentious debate, could Congress be any more divided over the issue of immigration? The answer is yes.In the House, positions are hardening over what to do about the tens of thousands of families and unaccompanied young im

    July 24, 2014

  • Take a lesson from Texas I like to eat at blue-collar diners and cafes, particularly when I’m on vacation.It’s a chance to step beyond the homogenized national chains and experience a bit of local flavor.And being a reporter, I like to chat up local folks to find out a bit a

    July 23, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks