Daily News editorial

Insurance companies

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We read a story Friday from the Florida Sun Sentinel about how settlement checks from policyholders’ insurance companies for payment of damages caused by Hurricane Irma include language noting if the policyholders accept the checks, they release the insurance companies from any further obligations connected to the claims.

In December, the Florida state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corporation declared that rising labor and materials costs caused by the hurricane could result in higher repair costs than what were first calculated.

Apparently, the insurance companies don’t want to pay those possible additional costs. Checks being issued from Florida’s largest insurance company, Universal P&C, have a statement on the backs of them noting if the payee endorses the check, it “constitutes receipt and release in full settlement for the claim or item mentioned in the draft.”

And, according to the article, at least two victims of the hurricane received “release of property damage” notices with their checks from Gulfstream Property and Casualty Insurance Co., stating “does hereby … release, acquit and forever discharge” ‘the company and its officials’ “from any and all claims, actions, causes of actions, demands, rights, damages, costs, loss of service, expenses and compensation whatsoever” originating from the hurricane.

This is being done despite a section of the state of Florida insurance law that, according to the story, reads “an insurer, after paying ‘actual cash value’ for an insured loss minus any applicable deductible, ‘shall pay any remaining amounts necessary to perform such repairs as work is performed and expenses are incurred’.”

At least one Florida insurance company doesn’t send release language with its claims checks. “We wouldn’t treat people that way,” chairman and president Locke Burt of Security First Insurance is quoted in the story. Kudos to SFI.

Many victims of Hurricane Irma lost everything – from their homes to their personal belongings. Shame on the insurance companies that are attempting to intimidate policyholders because the companies don’t want to pay for possible additional expenses and repair costs.

Dog poop

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On New Year’s Day, we were walking our dogs on the dike path by Ditch 6 between 30th and 38th avenues where we discovered numerous piles of dog poop.

Along the path, the city of Longview provides free bags for owners to use to pick up their pets’ excrement as well as garbage cans to dispose of the full bags.

With the supplies provided, there is no excuse for the irresponsibility and rudeness demonstrated by owners who don’t pick up after their pets. It is disgusting to see the heaps of waste and puts a damper on what should be an enjoyable time spent with our dogs.

As American journalist and non-fiction writer John Grogan wrote in his best-selling memoir, “Marley & Me,” “There’s no such thing as a bad dog, just a bad owner.”

To the “bad” owners, pick up after your pets.

Badly done, Kalama

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In Wednesday’s newspaper, we learned from a story by reporter Zack Hale that outgoing Kalama mayor Pete Poulsen eliminated Molly Ciancibelli’s position at the Kalama Public Library – a position the 73-year-old has held for three decades.

Poulsen’s decision, which was backed by members of the Kalama City Council goes against “a public show of support for library employees at a contentious” meeting in November, Hale wrote.

And former library board member Carol Eby told Hale that Poulsen’s move was a “blatant act of political retribution” and strikes her as “an abuse of office.”

Despite the apparent drama taking place in Kalama, what we consider unprofessional and inappropriate is how Poulsen handled notifying Ciancibelli of her termination. Poulsen asked – or told – Kalama Police Chief Ralph Herrera to deliver a sealed letter to Ciancibelli at her home. Poulsen should have had the fortitude to convey the notification face to face.

In Jane Austen’s words from her novel, “Emma,” “It was badly done, indeed!”

Jane Austen

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And, speaking of Jane Austen, this month is the anniversary of one of our favorite author’s most popular and beloved novels, “Pride and Prejudice.” The book, set in the early 1800s, is about a young lady in a family of mostly women who learns the pitfalls of prejudice and the importance of having moral character.

The theme in the novel, as in all of Austen’s works, is the need for individuals to possess strong and stable moral qualities.

As we learned in high school literature class, upbringing and environment play an important part on young people’s moral character.

In short, it seems Austen, in her writings from more than 200 years ago, believes as we do today – what we teach our children has a major effect on their behavior and character as they grow up.


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