Because they cannot make a credible attack against the merits of Proposition 33, initiative opponents have launched a personal attack against one of Proposition 33's strongest supporters George Joseph, chairman of the Mercury Insurance Group.
How cynical is that?
Proposition 33 is supported by the American Legion, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, Vietnam Veterans of America and USAA, the financial and insurance provider of choice for men and women in uniform. Proposition 33 is also supported by a long list of reputable organizations, including the California Association of Highway Patrolmen, Peace Officers Research Association of California, CDF Firefighters, the Greenlining Institute and the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.
Here's why these groups are supporting Proposition 33: It allows drivers to change insurance companies and maintain the "persistency" discount for following the law and purchasing car insurance. Almost every other state in the nation allows drivers to change insurance companies and maintain this discount except our state. California law punishes drivers who want to shop around for lower auto insurance. That makes no sense. And Proposition 33 eliminates the provision in the law that keeps motorists hostage to their insurance companies.
But Proposition 33 offers much more than simply consumer choice for California drivers.
The Bee recently ran an article on individuals who have given up their automobiles due to rough economic times. Those consumers lose their discount on the day they stop making a payment. Proposition 33 would put safety valves in place. Those on hard times can miss a payment for 90 days for any reason and keep the discount. They can stop making a payment for as long as 18 months if they have been laid off or furloughed and still keep the discount. If they miss payments for a year, Proposition 33 allows a proportional discount for each full year a person is insured.
This means drivers would get an 80 percent discount if insured for four years and 60 percent if covered for three years. This provision is both fair and smart.
Proposition 33 was also written to take care of military personnel. Due to military deployments, Californians who serve in the military are punished when they deploy and cancel their California insurance coverage. Prop. 33 eliminates this provision, which currently punishes Californians serving our county.
Proposition 33 also rewards children of parents who purchase auto insurance. Young people who live at home will get the same persistency discount their parents received once they are able to purchase their own auto insurance. This is a critical upgrade over the present system in which young people do not qualify for a persistency discount at all.
Do the opponents of this proposition argue against the merits of the improvements in California law? Of course not. They argue that, because George Joseph is a billionaire who decades ago founded an insurance company, this initiative should be opposed. What an unbelievable argument! George Joseph is 91 years old. He wants to make insurance more affordable to all Californians. And for this he gets attacked?
But this isn't the first time opponents of Prop. 33 have behaved irresponsibly. They were recently scolded in a legislative hearing for fear-mongering.
Public policy changes should be discussed on their merits and Proposition 33 will result in more affordable insurance for California motorists.
We come from different backgrounds. We have very different political philosophies. And on confronting most of the problems facing our state, we offer distinctly different solutions, but on Proposition 33, we agree. It is a good, positive change to California auto insurance law and it deserves the support of all Californians.
We would ask that you simply do what the proponents of the initiative have asked read the initiative for yourself. We did.
That is why we encourage you to vote "yes" on Proposition 33 on Nov. 6.