Mike D’Arelli, Mercury’s Lackey, attacks Stop Prop 17 while avoiding Mercury’s lies

This week, Harvey Rosenfield filed a lawsuit in Sacramento Superior Court urging the court to remove false and misleading statements that Mercury Insurance Company has made in its ballot arguments that will appear in the Official Voter Guide for the June ballot.

In the lawsuit, Rosenfield writes:

Mercury Insurance Company is attempting to put one over on the voters of California and this Court. Mercury and its surrogates are entitled to use the space allotted to them in the official Ballot Pamphlet to make the most persuasive case they can in support of the initiative…But the law does not allow Mercury to use the official Ballot Pamphlet to propagate false and misleading statements regarding either the terms of its proposed initiative or the state of existing law. And that is exactly what Mercury has done…

The 202-page lawsuit identifies numerous false and misleading statements made by Mercury's ballot signers.  For example, responding to criticism of Prop 17 by military vets and USAA, an insurance company that serves the armed forces, Mercury claims in its argument that soldiers living stateside are exempted from Prop 17’s surcharges, and that California consumers are currently charged using the “continuous coverage” factor that Prop 17 is promoting. These assertions are false, as explained in a brief summary below.  The lawsuit can be downloaded here

So, while we are trying to get the facts to the voters, the Alliance of Insurance Agents of Brokers Executive Director Mike D'Arelli is trying his best to obfuscate the real goals of Mercury Insurance. In today's Fresno Bee story on Rosenfield's lawsuit, D'Arelli tries his best hand at defense, not by explaining why Mercury is lying to Californians, but, you guessed it, by attacking us.

It’s pretty pathetic when insurance agents actively work against the interests of their customers. Mike D’Arelli is doing a huge disservice to those he represents. We would say we were surprised, but we're talking about a campaign that is sponsored by Mercury Insurance, an under-handed, dishonest and discriminatory company.

But facts are stubborn things, and Mr. D'Arelli can't make Mercury's lies go away by simply not addressing them.

We, on the other hand, are happy to go through Mercury's lies in the ballot argument. Here are some of those misleading claims made by Mercury:

Impact on the military. Prop 17’s surcharge for drivers who have not had five years of continuous insurance coverage has a limited exception for only those soldiers who are “absen[t] from the United States while in military service.”  Soldiers serving the country on base in the states are not exempt, even though they might not need to have and pay for automobile insurance while on base.  Nonetheless, the Rebuttal Argument falsely claims that the ballot measure exempts soldiers who “cancel insurance when serving overseas or in another state” from its surcharges.  When Mercury sponsored SB 841 in 2003 to allow the same surcharge against California motorists, it included an exemption for soldiers serving in other states. But Prop 17 has no such protection for stateside soldiers.

> Current law. Prop 17 creates a new rating factor in order to circumvent the consumer protections of current law and surcharge many good drivers in California.  But throughout its ballot arguments, Mercury pretends that the new rating factor it proposes to create, “continuous coverage,” already exists under current law. The Argument in Favor of 17 states: “Under current law, drivers who have maintained auto insurance with the same company are eligible for a continuous coverage discount.” This is untrue. The language of Proposition 17 itself states that it creates a new rating factor “in addition to” and “[n]otwithstanding” current law. Mercury is falsely equating discounts for motorists who remain with the same company for a period of years, which are permitted under Proposition 103, with a new rating factor the company wants to use to base premiums on whether or not people can show they have been continuously insured by any company with no lapses over 90 days over a five year period and have had no missed payments. Mercury has made the same false statements in previous court cases, and the courts have consistently rejected Mercury’s effort to equate the two.

> Surcharges. Mercury's ballot Argument in Favor claims that “Yes on 17 eliminates an existing surcharge for changing companies” and its Rebuttal says that Prop “17 would allow drivers to take your continuous coverage discount with you.” There is no existing surcharge for changing companies, and there is no existing “continuous coverage discount.” Mercury’s claims are false. Prop 17 would create a surcharge on good drivers who have not had five years of continuous auto insurance and would override Proposition 103’s ban on surcharges against the previously uninsured or those who have had a lapse in coverage, even if these motorists are good drivers.

One thought on “Mike D’Arelli, Mercury’s Lackey, attacks Stop Prop 17 while avoiding Mercury’s lies”

  1. Why is this even on the ballot? Just another item to vote No against this June.

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