As executive director of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, I applaud The Sun's editorial, "Relief for Baltimore drivers" (Sept. 3) and share the concerns it raised about the cost of automobile insurance in Baltimore City.
Many city drivers struggle to meet their insurance payments. The General Assembly, recognizing this, recently allowed MAIF to begin collecting installment payments, which as your editorial noted, lowers the real cost of a policy by over $250 for the average MAIF insured.
More can and should be done to address affordability in Baltimore City, including:
•Ensuring ready access to insurance agents. (MAIF has 167 authorized insurance producers in Baltimore City.)
•Eliminating the use of credit scoring and underwriting criteria related to education and occupation. Many companies use this information, MAIF does not and will not.
•Eliminating personal injury protection coverage for those who do not need it and do not want it. This, for example, would save MAIF drivers in the areas cited in your editorial over $550 for a 23-year-old single driver.
•Changing, through education, the "culture of claiming" that permeates certain urban areas. For every 100 property damage claims in Baltimore, there are 85 bodily injury claims. In comparison, the average number of bodily injury claims per 100 property damage claims statewide is 45.
•Strengthening enforcement of existing insurance law by requiring carriers to issue proof of insurance cards that must be displayed at traffic stops, MVA visits, and Vehicle Emission Inspection Program stations as reducing the number of uninsured motorists lowers premiums for all drivers.
•Tightening the registration system so proven violators of the mandatory insurance law who are not allowed to renew their tags for two years are instead issued a 6-month registration, thereby requiring them to prove insurance more often.
•Modernizing the uninsured motorist fine structure by allowing those who are caught violating the insurance laws to, after maintaining insurance for a full year, have a portion of their fine waived. This will help keep motorists insured instead of focusing on collecting penalties from them for being uninsured.
Together we can make our roads safer and the cost of insurance lower. That is our commitment and our cause at MAIF.
M. Kent Krabbe, Annapolis
The writer is executive director of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund.