LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

HOW Claims Article

On Court Case WrongAn article in your paper (JofC, Oct. 7) described the action the Supreme Court took in HOW's litigation with the state of Georgia over our status as a risk retention group under federal law. Unfortunately the article was incorrect in its reporting of the facts and in concluding that HOW will have to register as an insurance company in each state of operation.

We have been accused of concealing the fact that we are now out of business because of the Supreme Court's ruling. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The federal District Court in Georgia, and the District Court earlier in Delaware, did rule that HOW is a legitimate operation of a risk retention group, but the Georgia State Insurance Department appealed the case to the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The appeals court ruled that there was not enough evidence to determine whether the risk for builders was spread in years three through 10 of the program, and whether risk spreading was the primary activity of the group. The case was sent back to the District Court for more evidence on these two points. But at the same time, the court did not rule that HOW cease operations.

HOW is in full operation in Georgia and we are not required to register as an insurance company there or in any other state other than our chartering state. Even if the court's decision were to go against HOW, it would only affect our operations in Georgia.

The Risk Retention Act was recently amended to broaden the scope of activity of risk retention groups and we feel that the amendments further weaken the state insurance department's arguments.

The facts are that the HOW Insurance Co. continues to operate in all states under the Risk Retention Act; we continue to be fully and aggressively regulated by our state of domicile, Delaware; we continue to insure a portion of the product liability risks of our builder members; and we continue to grow and be a responsible and successful member of the insurance community.

Jeffrey S. Bragg President HOW Insurance Co. Washington, D.C.

Staff Works Hard

At Marad Offices

Marc Felice expresses concern (JofC, Nov. 17) over some incorrect figures that appeared in one table of the 50-page report, "Inventory of American Intermodal Equipment 1986," prepared by this office.

I accept full responsibility for these errors as director of this office. I am appalled, however, and do not comprehend why The Journal of Commerce would publish Mr. Felice's characterization of me and my staff as ''uninterested government paper-pushers who just wait out the required number of years so that they can retire with comfortable government pensions."

I consider this personal attack an unwarranted criticism and uncharacteristi c reporting on the part of The Journal of Commerce, an organization I have respected and worked with for many years.

As many in industry, government and the media, including your own staff, can attest, this office does reputable work and uses the taxpayer's dollar well. I am proud of the performance, hard work and dedication of the men and women who staff this office.

John M. Pisani, Director Office of Port and Intermodal Development Maritime Administration Washington, D.C.

Arbitrator's Role

Is Clarified

Concerning your article on Henry Engelbrecht (JofC, Oct. 23),it is important that the shipping industry understands that marine arbitrators are not appointed "to represent" the party who selects them. It is a basic tenet of the procedures and code of ethics of the Society of Marine Arbitrators Inc., that party arbitrators shall come to the dispute with a totally open mind, be ready to hear the evidence offered by both sides and to render a totally impartial decision based on the evidence.

Michael A. van Gelder Marine Arbitrator New York, N.Y.

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