Ballot measure: Proposition 33

Under the measure, drivers who have had continuous insurance coverage with any insurance company over the past five years could switch insurers and keep their "loyalty discounts."

The campaign supporting the measure is now running a 30-second TV ad in major media markets in the state.

What's the claim?: "I'm Brandi, and I'm a recent college graduate from UC San Diego. I'm voting yes on Proposition 33 because it will save me money and allow me and not insurance companies to control my car insurance discount. I'm repaying my student loans and money is tight, but Proposition 33 will make insurance companies compete harder for my business. As a young graduate living at home, Proposition 33 gives me the same discount as my parents. Proposition 33 protects consumers like me. Vote yes on Proposition 33."

Is it true?

The ad is deceptive because it mentions only the benefits consumers would see under Proposition 33 -- but fails to note that many drivers who have let their insurance coverage lapse over the past five years would face steep surcharges.

Consumer Watchdog, which is fighting Proposition 33, was the group behind Proposition 103, the landmark 1988 insurance-reform initiative that, among other things, prohibits such surcharges. Two years ago, Consumer Watchdog was vastly outspent but defeated a similar measure, Proposition 17.

Like Proposition 33, that initiative was also bankrolled by Mercury Insurance CEO George Joseph, who has spent $16.4 million to pass Proposition 33.


Advertisement

The TV commercial also fails to disclose that the young woman featured in the ad, Brandi King, is an employee of Sacramento-based Marketplace Communications, a public relations firm that has been paid $608,000 by the Yes on 33 campaign. Adriana Calderon, featured in a similar ad, is also employed by the PR firm.

-- Steven Harmon, Staff