Insurance On The Ballot: Prop 33

Changing the way drivers are billed for auto insurance

A change in the future of auto insurance could be one vote away in California.

Supporters of Proposition 33 claim drivers with continuous coverage will be able to find cheaper insurance by shopping around their plan. However, those opposed to the change argue that where some may find discounts, others could find higher rates.

"This is a very deceptive initiative that will do damage and raise people's rates," said Jamie Court with Consumer Watchdog.

Court and the group StopProp33 claim the Proposition will raise the rates of some drivers by as much as 40 percent. Those drivers may not have a history of coverage because they are new drivers or chose not to drive for a period of time because of the economy or living in other states or outside the country.

But the Proposition does take into account military service, according to supporter Bob Kipper who owns a San Marcos insurance agency.

"If they were serving out of the country, why not offer them that extra discount," said Kipper.

Proposition 33 is sponsored and supported by Mercury Insurance founder and chairman George Joseph.

"He wants to have the capability and opportunity to offer the discounts that are legal in 48 other states," said Kipper.

But, again, Court doesn't agree.

"When is the last time an insurance executive spent $16 million on a ballot initiative to save you money?" said Court. "They do it to save themselves money."

Supporters say 85 percent of California drivers who follow the law and have insurance will be able to shop for potential discounts.

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