Billionaire George Joseph and his company Mercury Insurance are behind a new California ballot measure designed to increase insurance premiums. This is not the first time. Two years ago, Mercury Insurance spent $16 million on a similar California proposition that was rejected by voters in June 2010. It came in the wake of a decision by the California Department of Insurance that Mercury had overcharged and discriminated against California customers for 15 years.
Mercury is now trying again. Voters should be prepared to see a barrage of ads for Mercury’s new measure: Proposition 33. The ads will claim that the Proposition will allow insurance companies to
give a “continuous coverage” discount to new customers who want to switch from one carrier to another. They will also claim that it will allow insurance companies to give discounts to military personnel.
In reality, Proposition 33 is designed to allow insurance companies to increase premiums on those customers who have had their insurance lapse for 90 days or more. It is designed to eliminate a right that customers currently have because of Proposition 103 which outlawed an insurance company practice of determining auto insurance rates based on a person’s insurance history.
This ballot measure is not designed to benefit customers who buy insurance; it is designed to benefit big insurance companies.