Santa Monica, CA – Voters issued the final verdict on the deceptive campaign for Prop 33, financed by Mercury Insurance Chairman George Joseph, that would have given insurance companies the power to charge good drivers more for lapses in coverage. Prop 33 was losing by a margin of 46 to 54 at 11:30 pm Tuesday.
Consumer Watchdog Campaign said the ballot box victory against the insurance billionaire showed that self-interested corporate campaigns could not disguise themselves or their proposals to fool voters, and other corporate interests should take note.
Consumer Groups Opposing Prop 33 Were Outspent 70 to 1
Consumer Watchdog and Consumer Federation of California led the campaign against Prop 33 with a coalition of consumer advocates, seniors, labor, faith-based and civil rights organizations to defeat Proposition 33. CFC and other ballot signers.
Insurance billionaire Joseph spent a total $17,478,547 on Prop 33, including $423,000 in the last 10 days that was reported as Independent Expenditures. Opponents, including Consumer Watchdog, were outspent 70 to 1. Prop 33 is a repeat of Prop 17, which voters rejected in June 2010, and Joseph’s Mercury Insurance Company spent $16 million to pass it.
Prop 33 would have repealed a prohibition put in place twenty four years ago by voters under Proposition 103 that prevented insurance companies from charging more to drivers who had a lapse in insurance coverage.
“This should be a warning to other self-interested companies and billionaires that the voters’ will cannot be purchased through $17 million in deceptive advertising,” said Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog and a leader of the Prop 33 effort.
“California voters have proven once again that they won’t be fooled by big insurance money. The defeat of Prop 33 is not only a victory for all California motorists, it’s a massive repudiation of special interests trying to use the people’s initiative process to enrich themselves,” said Carmen Balber, the Stop Prop 33 campaign manager. “This is a victory for fair insurance laws that have protected Californians for 24 years."
Consumer Watchdog has qualified an initiative measure for the 2014 ballot to further reform the auto, home and health insurance industries, all lines of insurance for which rates should be fair, reasonable and justified because they are required either by economic necessity or law.