Insurance salesman are all smiles because of new law

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 7, 2000

Those folks you see in your neighborhood who are grinning from ear to ear are most probably automobile liability insurance salesmen. Thanks to the new mandatory auto insurance law which went into effect June 1, these "policy men" are selling insurance like hot cakes.

Many Alabamians…especially those who suffered property and personal injury in an accident with a non-insured motorist…have clamored for a compulsory insurance law.

For years the liability insurancecompanies of the world…State Farm and Alfa at the forefront… opposed the legislation.

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Ironically, it was a freshman legislator from Auburn, Republican Rep. Mike Hubbard, who

succeeded where so many others had failed. He was the sponsor of the bill that finally became law.

The new law requires a minimum coverage of $20,000 per injury, $40,000 per accident that causes injury, and $10,000 for vehicle repair.

For years insurance companies have warned that to provide coverage for the uninsured drivers…many of whom have high accident rates…would lead to higher rates for all motorists, including those with good records.

However, this argument was not heard when the bill was signed into law by Gov. Siegelman.

The liklihood that Charles Woods of Dothan will be elected to Congress in November are, to borrow that old line, slim and none and slim is out of town.

But after trying for so long it seems sort of right that in the sunset of his life that Woods would at least win the nomination for public office.

For tragic reasons, Woods is one of the most memorable figures to walk across the Alabama political scene during the past 40 years. His gasoline tanker plane crashed during World War II while flying over "The Hump" in the China-Burma-India theater of operations. He was the lone survivor but was horribly burned.

He returned home, amassed a fortune in radio and television operations, and in 1962 entered the Alabama political arena. During the next four decades he ran for governor three times, once he even ran for President and on another occasion ran for U. S. Senator. He never came close.

This spring, at the age of 78, he qualified to run for the Democratic nomination for Congress from the Second District, which extends from Montgomery southeastward to Dothan.

One other man, Joe Fondren, also qualified for the race. Last week the Democratic Party bounced Fondren from the primary because he paid his qualifying fee with a $2,000 check that bounced.

That meant that Woods had won the nomination even before the votes were counted.

Like I said at the top, there is little chance that Woods can unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Terry Everett, but at least the persistent Woods can now add to his resume the fact that he was the Democratic nominee for Congress.

After many church groups banded together to defeat Gov. Siegelman's lottery in 1999 he and other supporters of the legislation called on those same groups to use their influence in other areas of legislation. Until the lottery came along, churches had most often steered clear of political issues.

At the annual meeting. of the Alabama-West Florida United Methodist Conference in Montgomery a resolution calling for the repeal of the state sales tax on groceries was passed overwhelmingly.

A second resolution calling for overall tax reform did not come up for a vote.