To the editor:
Your Aug. 14 editorial on auto insurance costs was interesting, but it was somewhat strange that you would address this subject matter at this time. I'm not sure you were entirely fair with your figures and I would like to present some additional information for the record.The Manitoba, Canada, program operated with a 19.6 percent overhead, which means that 77.8 percent of the premium dollar was returned to the users. In the United States, the overhead and taxes vary from 30 percent to 40 percent of overhead.
A Deseret News article of Aug. 22 carried a headline "Workers Fund sets dividend of $4 million," which is based on an $8.1 million net income. This is a government-funded program that consistently has operated in the black.
The real issue may not be whether the program is publicly or privately funded but how to better serve the public. There exists a group of people who will not buy insurance regardless of the penalties.
This group is estimated at a low of 20 percent for Utah to a high of 50 percent in a Denver study. In Utah, the other 80 percent are left to pay the penalties for uninsured motorists. Neither private industry nor government legislation has been able to solve this problem.
An alternate method to ensure 100 percent compliance would provide a mechanism to collect the premium at time of automobile registration and/or a surcharge on driver's license fee and/or a surcharge at the gas pump.
Thomas G. Pace, CPCU
Farmers Home Group
Salt Lake City