Insurance beef really hits home

A 67-year-old woman who lives near Dorchester’s Four Corners neighborhood went public this week with a beef that many Dorchester home and car owners can relate to. Evelyn Cartwright, who lives on Strathcona Road, told CBS-Boston that she’s fighting back against her insurance company, which is insisting that her car is garaged in Roxbury, even though she clearly lives in, and parks her car at, her Dorchester address.

Cartwright’s insurance company, Safety Insurance, agreed to charge her a lower rate on a one-time basis, she says, but only after she filed a complaint with the state attorney general’s office. She was refunded $180, according to the Channel 4 report.

“The post office says it Dorchester, the office for disabilities says it Dorchester, and all my mail comes as Dorchester,” Cartwright told CBS-Boston reporter Joe Shortsleeve. But her victory may be short-lived; Safety told the station that when her policy gets renewed next year, her address will once again be bundled with Roxbury rates. Why, you ask? Because the company assigns costs by zip code— and Cartwright’s 02121 zip is considered to be a Roxbury code, despite sharing the distinction with many streets in Dorchester.

This story calls to mind a recent story broken by the Reporter in which residents of Hyde Park successfully lobbied the post office to change their neighborhood name from Mattapan to Hyde Park. Residents went door-to-door collecting signatures to force the issue.

The issue is one that is complicated by the official city planning agency, the BRA, which has over time muddled the boundaries of Boston’s neighborhoods, particularly when it comes to Dorchester, Roxbury, and Mattapan. Large chunks of Dorchester have been lopped off into either Roxbury or Mattapan on official city maps over the decades for reasons that remain unclear.

Boundaries and neighborhood names do matter— and not just for the bottom line of insurance bills. Here’s hoping that insurance companies like Safety will take a look at the effects of assigning costs based strictly on zip code. – Bill Forry

Start Mother’s Day on the right foot

Happy Mother’s Day to all of our moms and future moms in the neighborhoods.

Next Sunday will be a day to praise and pamper the special women in our lives. In Dorchester, it’s also a day to promote peace— especially for those moms who have suffered the worst kind of loss imaginable.

The Louis D. Brown Peace Institute’s Mother’s Walk for Peace starts early on Sunday morning— 8:30 a.m. — at Town Field in Fields Corner.

It takes about an hour for most folks to complete the 3.6 mile walk, which serves a dual purpose: It raises funds for the Dorchester non-profit that does excellent work in assisting local families impacted by violence; and it sends an important message: our local streets and sidewalks are not a no man’s land. We own them, not the thugs with guns.

The walk began as one woman’s way of taking control of her own grief. Tina Chery’s son Louis was gunned down in 1993 just a block from Town Field— and not far from his home. He died, as many have, as an innocent bystander caught between two rivals with guns. Louis’s death galvanized public outrage at the time and his legacy has been an important one in Dorchester, where his family’s activism has been a consistent, tireless presence at times of great heartache for others. It is a worthy and important cause.
– BF

Subscribe to the Dorchester Reporter