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To the editor: I appreciate your considerable efforts in preparing the articles about our risk management program for the April 27 issue of BI.

Having reviewed the articles more closely, we feel it is important to bring to your attention a portion of one of the articles that readers could misunderstand. I am referring to the portion of the lead article relating to a fire risk in Tradewinds Evaporative Coolers. It is correct that a few claims have been asserted against the company relating to fires alleged to have started in or near a Tradewinds cooler. As you know from covering risk management issues for years, the simple assertion of a claim against a company does not in any manner imply that the company has done anything wrong or is guilty of negligence.

It is also correct that, partly in response to these claims, the company conducted research and, ultimately, added fire retardant to the polypropylene and made alterations to the wiring of the electrical components. However, it is also correct to note that much of the research that led to changes in the product was conducted in order to be able to meet the stringent requirements of various product accreditation agencies.

What is of concern is the implication that cooler fires have been caused when "moisture saturated the electrical components inside the cabinet." We are not aware of any test performed by any party that has shown this to have been a causative factor in any cooler fire. Further, it has never been conclusively established that a Tradewinds cooler or any components of a Tradewinds cooler has ever caused a fire. If, during the course of our extensive interview time, I inappropriately indicated that we were aware of such an occurrence, I clearly misspoke myself.

We felt it necessary to write to you in order to go on the record to clarify this point.

Jim Green

Risk Manager

Justin Management Co.

Fort Worth, Texas

Editor's note: Mr. Green is a member of the 1998 Risk Management Honor Roll.