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PD Editorial: No on 33: This retread is no bargain

  • Highway 101 looking to the north from the Corona Road over crossing Tuesday May 22, 2012 in Petaluma. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2012

Two years ago, a Los Angeles insurer bankrolled a ballot initiative to change voter-approved rules for setting auto insurance premiums.

That was Proposition 17, and voters wisely said no.

Voters ought to say no once again when they decide Proposition 33, a virtually identical initiative on the Nov. 6 ballot. Maybe this time George Joseph will get the message.

Joseph, the chairman of Mercury Insurance, spent $16 million on Proposition 17. So far, he's spent at least $8 million trying to pass off Proposition 33 as consumer friendly.

Ask yourself, when's the last time an insurance company spent that much to save <i>you</i> money?

California drivers pay more than $20 billion a year in auto insurance premiums. Mercury is one of the five largest auto insurers in the state, and Joseph's initiative would create an avenue for his company to pursue a larger market share.

That's the real intent of Proposition 33.

Under the present rules, auto insurance premiums are based predominantly on a driver's safety record, annual driving miles and years of experience behind the wheel. These factors are objective and, to a large degree, they can be controlled by individual drivers.

Until 1988, when voters approved Proposition 103, where you lived was as important as your record and experience in determining how much you paid for auto insurance.

Insurers are allowed to offer loyalty discounts to long-term customers.

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