California Judge Upholds Wording of Insurance Ballot Measure

A lawsuit seeking to change wording against Proposition 33 used in voters’ ballot guides was rejected by a Sacramento County Superior Court judge on Thursday, according to The Associated Press.

Proposition 33 would overhaul the process through which motorists get cheap car insurance in California, adding a driver’s coverage history—regardless of who provided that coverage—to the handful of factors insurers can use to determine rates.

The court challenge was filed by one of the ballot measure’s supporters, who took issue with the ballot title and summary describing Proposition 33 as changing “current law to allow insurance companies to set prices based on whether the driver previously carried auto insurance with any company.”

The proposition’s supporters said the phrase “set prices” was “commonly used to describe illegal price fixing” and would mislead voters, according to court documents.

In his ruling, Judge Timothy Frawley said the “set prices” wording should be preserved, according to AP.

Parties on both sides of Proposition 33 immediately issued their own views on the ruling.

The nonprofit Consumer Watchdog, which has run an extensive campaign against Proposition 33, called the ruling a “total victory,” and added that it still foresees a bitter battle leading up to November.

“Mercury lost this campaign gambit to try and hide the truth from voters, but we have no doubt they’ll be back with the same lies and deception in a multi-million dollar campaign of TV and radio advertising backed by a horde of paid PR hacks and phony endorsers,” Carmen Balber, spokeswoman for Consumer Watchdog’s advocacy group Consumer Watchdog Campaign, said in a statement, referring to the insurer Mercury, a main financier of Proposition 33.

In its response to the ruling, the Proposition 33 campaign attacked Consumer Watchdog directly, saying the group had “earned a reputation for overheated hyperbole.” The initiative’s supporters also said the ruling would not change their approach to November’s vote.

“We look forward to a robust campaign, where the merits of Proposition 33 will prevail,” the campaign said in a statement.

For more on the court battle and opposing views of Proposition 33, read our previous story on the lawsuit.

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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