According to a communication I received from Consumer Watchdog founder Harvey Rosenfeld, Mercury Insurance has sued him, former Attorney General John Van De Kamp and former Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi. Why? The car insurance company wants to stop them from warning Californians in the Official State Voter Guide about the huge premium increases to come under Mercury’s Prop 17 for millions of drivers.
Prop 17 is fully funded by Mercury Insurance, apparently with the goal of jacking up Californians’ auto insurance premiums. Prop 17 would surcharge drivers, including soldiers, students and seniors, who have had a lapse in car insurance coverage virtually for any reason during the last five years. This would penalize even those who have had no car accidents, citations or violations.
Drivers to Pay Unfair Penalties
Under this proposal, even people who stopped driving and didn’t need insurance for a time would be required to pay hundreds of dollars more for insurance when they want to restart coverage. Prop 17 will also allow insurers to charge significantly higher premiums to people who missed just one insurance payment – ONE! This measure would gut a provision of the 1988 insurance reform measure (Prop 103) authored by Rosenfeld, which basically prohibits insurance companies from raising rates on consumers because they did not have car insurance in the past. Mercury has filed a lawsuit against Rosenfeld and others who want to put this information in the voter guide so people know what they are voting for.
Is Mercury Misleading Voters?
This is a personal issue for me. What this means is that my daughters, who have both been in college for years without cars, will have to pay higher rates when they do get a car because they have not had auto insurance over the last few years. Is Mercury’s intention to penalize my daughters for not having auto insurance when they didn’t driver cars or is it simply a way to increase their profits? Also, is Mercury trying to pull the wool over the eyes of California voters and trying to bully anyone who stands in their way? This is an issue for me as a father, a personal injury lawyer, and as a Californian.
It’s not enough that Mercury spent tens of millions of dollars to deceive voters about Prop 17 and $3.5 million to stick this measure in the June ballot. Now, Mercury is trying to censor individuals’ views by bullying them with a lawsuit. I commend Harvey Rosenfeld for refusing to give in to such bullying. He has filed his own lawsuit against Mercury asking that the courts strike the “devious lies and tricks” that Mercury wants to put in the Voter Guide. The case is scheduled to be heard in Sacramento Superior Court on Friday. I wish Rosenfeld and his team the very best. Consumers need warriors such as Rosenfeld to stand up and fight large corporations such as Mercury. California voters deserve the truth.