Auto insurance rates are likely to see a steep increase for Californians and this proposed initiative will be put on the November ballot. Debra Bowen, California Secretary states that the measure had been sponsored by Mercury Insurance, the auto insurance giant, who has managed to get adequate number of signatures required to qualify for the November ballot, which already has two other measures.
The auto insurance initiative required at least 504,760 valid ‘petition signatures’ in order to qualify for the November ballot. This is equivalent to 5% of the total number of votes that were cast for the Governor during the November 2010 ‘gubernatorial elections.’ A measure may qualify through the random sampling of these petition signatures, provided the sampling projects over 110% of the required numbers. At least 555,236 valid signatures were needed by the auto insurance initiative to qualify via random sampling, and it managed to exceed those numbers on Wednesday, stated Ms. Bowen.
Now, County election officials will have a months’ time to carry out a verification of the validity of these petition signatures that have been filed through their offices. As per the Elections Code, county elections officials will have to verify at least 3% or 500 signatures (the greater of the two) out of the signatures that have been filed in the county. However, counties that receive less than 500 petition signatures will have to verify all of them.
In case the voters give their approval, the measure will change existing laws and auto insurance companies would be permitted to set prices based on the driver’s previous record –if the motorist had auto insurance policies with any other company. Insurance companies may or may not give additional discounts to motorists with prior insurance coverage.
If the motorists had allowed their insurance to lapse as they were serving in the army or due to loss of employment then the drivers would be considered as having continuous auto insurance coverage. The same holds good if the lapse in the insurance policy is less than 90 days.
Brian Stedge who is a consumer advocate at Consumer Watchdog, states that Mercury Insurance is back again with yet another costly ballot measure that attempts to trick the voters into giving auto insurance companies more power to punish consumers and increase premiums as well. The initiative would result in surcharges of over 40% for Californians who had allowed their insurance policies to lapse or simply did not drive for a certain period of time.