Calif. Insurance Regulation Petition Crosses Signature Threshold

A petition seeking heavier regulations within the California insurance industry surpassed the threshold of signatures needed to put it to a statewide vote, moving the initiative a step closer to getting on the November ballot.

The petition for the Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act (IRPJA) garnered more than 800,000 voter signatures, according to Consumer Watchdog, which reported the numbers last week and is spearheading the campaign behind the proposal.

The proposal mostly has to do with bringing health coverage regulations in line with the extensive auto insurance regulations already in place in the state.

But part of the proposal would also solidify a current ban on rating drivers based on whether they have been continuously covered, which may butt heads with a separate, industry-backed proposal to eliminate that ban.

The auto insurance quotes California policyholders get currently may be affected by whether they’ve been insured by the same company for a number of years, but they can’t be affected by whether the applicant had been through a period of being uninsured.

The IRJPA would reinforce that ban. But, if approved to be put before voters, IRPJA would share the same ballot as the Automobile Insurance Discount Act (AID), which was approved by the Secretary of State in January for a vote this November.

AID would do just the opposite of the IRPJA’s auto provision: open consumers’ prior coverage history, regardless of carrier, to insurers for rating purposes, which supporters say would be used in discounts for policyholders remaining insured and increase competition between insurers.

Consumer Watchdog is one of AID’s strongest opponents, saying that many would see premiums increase as a result of the proposal and that it would make it harder for currently uninsured drivers to enter the market.

AID clashes directly with IRPJA, and it’s unclear how passage of both proposals would ultimately be resolved.

State law requires 504,000 signatures to bring a measure to the ballot for consideration by voters. Signatures must be certified by June 28.

About Ben Zitney
Benjamin Zitney has been covering the auto insurance industry for the past 2.5 years. Before coming to Online Auto Insurance News, he produced an extensive company history of the 30-year-old California Joint Powers Insurance Authority and worked at the Cal State Long Beach Daily Forty-Niner as a reporter, copy editor and news editor.

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