Top 10 reasons California newspapers say we should vote No on Prop 33
by Carmen Balber, Consumer Watchdog
Consumer Watchdog Campaign today compiled ten of the most compelling reasons Californians should vote NO on Proposition 33, as reported by newspapers and editorial boards across the state.
"Consumer and public interest groups are being outspent 50 to 1 by an insurance billionaire who has thrown $16 million into Prop 33 in order to cherry pick customers and raise rates on good drivers in California," said Carmen Balber of the No on Prop 33 Campaign. "Voters should look to trusted sources to sort through the truth about how Prop 33 will hurt consumers."
Top ten reasons Californians should vote NO on Prop 33:
1. Prop 33 will raise rates on new drivers.
George Joseph, the insurance billionaire behind Prop 33, acknowledged to the "Los Angeles Times "on Sunday that Prop 33 will raise rates on new drivers. As columnist Mike Hiltzik reported: "He made no bones about the fact that the ‘proper rate’ for customers coming to Mercury as newly insured policyholders is much higher than what he can charge them now."
2. Prop 33 will allow insurers to cherry pick their preferred customers and raise rates on everyone else.
"Riverside Press-Enterprise" editorial:" ""The idea that the head of an insurance company would spend millions of dollars to save drivers money defies all credibility. No, a different and self-interested agenda drives this measure: poaching lucrative customers from rivals while encouraging less desirable customers to go elsewhere. Californians have no reason to reward that kind of special-interest scheme, and voters should reject Prop. 33."
3. California voters said NO to an almost identical measure at the ballot two years ago.
"San Jose Mercury-News" editorial: "Two years ago billionaire George Joseph, chairman of Mercury Insurance, spent $16 million of the company’s money on Proposition 17, a direct attack on California’s strong insurance rights laws. Like an irritating mosquito, Joseph and his millions are back again this year with Proposition 33, essentially a new version of the law voters rejected two years ago."
4. Prop 33 will raise the number of uninsured drivers in California.
"Riverside Press-Enterprise" editorial: "That approach would make insurance more expensive for drivers who do not have it now – which would undermine the public interest. State policy should encourage all drivers to buy insurance, to avoid the extra costs everyone else pays in collisions with the uninsured. Instead, Prop. 33 would throw new financial obstacles in the path of those who lack insurance."
5. Prop 33 will overturn a 24-year-old consumer and civil rights protection.
"North County Times" editorial: "Put on the ballot by insurers, Prop. 33 seeks to lift a voter-approved prohibition (Prop. 103 in 1988) on charging automobile insurance customers a higher rate if they were not previously insured. We see no reason to change the current ban on charging higher rates to the previously uninsured. A person’s likelihood of causing a vehicle collision tomorrow would not seem to hinge on whether they had insurance last week or not."
6. Prop 33 will raise rates on good drivers who drop their insurance coverage for almost any reason.
"Sacramento Bee" editorial: "The downside remains clear as the attorney general’s office notes in the official summary: Proposition 33 ‘will allow insurance companies to increase cost of insurance to drivers who have not maintained continuous coverage.’ That would mean higher costs for graduating students buying coverage, anyone newly obtaining an auto, city dwellers who haven’t owned a car but now live in an area without mass transit, anyone who decided not to drive for more than three months to save money."
7. Prop 33 unfairly punishes responsible drivers who stop driving for good reasons and then need to get back on the road.
"Daily News" editorial: "There is no good reason such people should be punished for their non-driving period. Once they need or are able to drive again, the law says they have to buy insurance. When they comply with that law, they should not be hit with a surcharge that could last five years."
8. Prop 33 will raise rates on drivers with perfect driving records.
"Bakersfield Californian" editorial: "But Prop. 33 could still raise rates for drivers, even those with perfect driving records. In states with Prop. 33-like rules, drivers who buy insurance following a long lapse in coverage paid more: 61 percent more in Texas, 79 percent more in Nevada and 103 percent more in Florida."
9. Prop 33 is funded by one insurance billionaire to benefit his own company at the expense of consumers.
"Daily News" editorial: "The electorate didn’t buy the pitch then that Mercury Insurance’s chairman was spending $16 million to pass a measure just because he wanted consumers to save money on auto insurance. And voters shouldn’t buy it now that Mercury’s billionaire boss George Joseph is back — spending more than $8 million so far in support of of this self-serving measure."
10. Prop 33 is backed by an insurance company with a record of abusing its customers and violating the law.
"Santa Cruz Sentinel" editorial: "According to the California Department of Insurance, Mercury Insurance overcharged and discriminated against California customers for 15 years. The company’s founder, Joseph, has a track record of giving money to state politicians to get state law changed to benefit Mercury, and when that failed, abusing the state initiative process with his self-serving propositions."