Prop. 33: A Boon to Drivers and Vets or a Bounty for Insurance Cos.?

Starkly different pictures of the proposition painted by each side.

Veterans groups and political analysts disagree on the merits of Proposition 33, known as the "2012 Automobile Insurance Discount Act," one of 11 propositions in tomorrow's statewide ballot.

If approved by voters, Prop. 33 would add to the section in the California Insurance code that allows for discount insurance rates to California drivers who have "continuously followed the mandatory insurance law."

Although the state code already allows for such discounts, Prop. 33 would expand the code's definition of "continuous coverage" to include various exceptions, such as for drivers who have had a lapse in coverage of less than 90 days.

a Vietnam veteran, former Commander of the Healdsburg American Legion Sotoyome Post 111 and a statewide legislative advocate for veterans issues for AMVETS, said Prop. 33 would offer special help to military families who have soldiers overseas.

"It's a good measure and it's being overlooked by Californians, under the misguidance of the newspaper editors throughout the state -- even local editors," said Plass, who has a YouTube video out in support of Prop. 33.

"Mainly, Prop 33 has a clause to assist veterans and their families when a soldier goes overseas, if they have a minor lapse in payment," Plass said.

[Ed. note: Healdsburg Patch could not find such a clause listed in the official state voters pamphlet.]

"Prop 33 is a fabulous break for Californians -- and working in 48 other states !!!!!!!!," Plass said.  "No one is complaining in those states."

Plass said an article, written by Milo Pearson, Former Division Chief and Deputy Commissioner, California Department of Insurance, explains why voters should vote "Yes."

"If you want to know the benefits of Proposition 33 in the future, all you have to do is look to the past. and present, it’s the law in 48 other states," Pearson writes.  

"As a former Deputy Commissioner for Rate Regulation at the California Department of Insurance (CDI), I strongly support Proposition 33 in large part because history tells us the initiative will cut the number of uninsured drivers."

[See the full text of Pearson's letter by clicking on a PDF attached to this article].

Despite Plass's enthusiasm, a summary of Prop. 33 by non-partisan political analyst Pete Stahl of Mountain View says voters should vote "No."

"Repeat of a failed 2010 attempt by Mercury Insurance Company to buy a law benefitting itself," Stahl writes. "This one allows auto insurers to raise the premiums of drivers who have had coverage lapses.

"The new income will enable insurers to offer new, cross-insurer continuous-coverage discounts in order to poach reliable policyholders from each other," he says. "Prop 33 will increase the number of uninsured drivers and unfairly penalize some who stopped carrying insurance for legitimate reasons."

To read the full text of Stahl's opinion, click here.

TELL US: What do you think, voters?



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