Just How Much Will Mercury Insurance’s Little Ploy Cost Us?

It seems to be the day for me to complain about ballot measures. Hey, there’s worse things to complain about, right?  Well, anyway, Prop 103, passed waaaay back in 1988, amongst other insurance reforms, barred insurance companies from doing big surcharges for customers that weren’t previously insured.  There’s good reasons to stop paying for auto insurance, like, say you didn’t have a car and were using public transportation, or that you were out of the country, such as deployed soldiers. These are all good, compelling reasons not to have insurance.  After all, it is a good thing when people don’t have cars, right? Isn’t that the point of services like ZipCar and City Car Share?

But, Mercury Insurance was finding that a bit inconvenint, so they’re doing they’re best to overturn it. Of course, that is their right given our rather decrepit governmental structure, but Mercury has to understand that they’ll also be called out for it. Consumer Watchdog, the successor organization to the folks that passed 103, are still taking it to Mercury.

Mercury Insurance’s whopping surcharges to motorists who’ve had a lapse in their coverage in other states is “smoking gun” proof that Californian motorists will face the same hit to their wallets if voters approve a ballot measure underwritten by Mercury, a consumer advocate charged Wednesday.

In a video demonstration using Mercury’s Web site, www.MercuryInsurance.com, which offers insurance quotes, Harvey Rosenfield, the founder of Consumer Watchdog, showed that a typical middle aged man with a modest car in Nevada would be charged $835 for six months if he answered yes to the question of whether he currently had coverage. If that same motorist answered no, the six-month premium was quoted as $1,448 — a 73 percent markup, or surcharge. In California, that is illegal.

Similar or higher surcharges by Mercury have been found in Texas (67 percent) and Florida (227 percent), said Rosenfield, the author of Proposition 103, the 1988 voter-approved law that prohibits insurance companies from raising rates based on previous coverage.(CoCo Times 1/21/2010)

Sure, Mercury will tell you now that they’ll just give discounts, but the data from other states bears out what really happens. This could end up being quite an expensive little measure.

2 thoughts on “Just How Much Will Mercury Insurance’s Little Ploy Cost Us?”

  1. Mercury sadly has affordable rates, but is there any other leading companies that could actually beat Mercury in pricing?

    I dont want to help fund Mercury insurance with their fleecing of the consumer.

  2. They really are scumbags, spending all their money to fund campaigns and whatnot, and screw their customers.

    That 1988 campaign sucked all the balls ever. we had FOUR competing initiatives, most of which were paid for by the industry. It was a clusterfuck of epic fail proportions.


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