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Dems oppose Proposition 17

Posted: April 19, 2010 4:06 p.m.
Updated: April 19, 2010 11:22 p.m.
The California Democratic Party voted this weekend to oppose Proposition 17 on the June ballot.

Prop 17 would allow car insurance companies to increase premiums for millions of California drivers based on their history of purchasing auto insurance.

At its weekend convention in Los Angeles, the Democratic Party joined consumer, labor, senior and veterans groups fighting the ballot measure funded by Mercury Insurance, California's third largest auto insurer. To date, Mercury has spent $5.25 million on its Prop 17 campaign.

"The Democratic Party voted to stand with consumers against a self-serving insurance company that is trying to buy an election so it can charge drivers higher premiums," said consumer advocate Doug Heller with the Stop Prop 17 campaign.

"Opposing Prop 17 is a no-brainer for anyone who allies themselves with average Californians ahead of insurance companies."

Prop 17 would create an insurance surcharge on drivers, including soldiers and seniors, who have had a lapse in car insurance coverage for virtually any reason during the past five years, or who missed a single payment. Under the measure, people who stopped driving and didn't need insurance for a time would be required to pay up to a $1000 more for car insurance when they sought to restart coverage.

Currently, insurance companies are prohibited from imposing such a surcharge in California.

Other opponents of Prop 17 include: Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports magazine,, California Nurses Association, California Federation of Teachers, California Labor Federation, Consumer Watchdog, Consumer Federation of California and the California Alliance of Retired Americans.

Last week, Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced an administrative lawsuit against Prop 17 sponsor Mercury Insurance in response to findings of widespread overcharges and illegal discrimination by the company.

Mercury's reputation for cheating policyholders is also reflected in the company's consistently low J.D. Power customer satisfaction ranking. Read more about the Insurance Commissioner's Mercury investigation and lawsuit at


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