California Voters Reject Bid to Change Insurance Rate-Setting

November 8, 2012

For the second time in three years, California voters have rejected a ballot initiative that would have let auto insurers charge drivers based on their history of maintaining coverage.

Proposition 33 failed Tuesday with about 55 percent voting against.

It was the second attempt by billionaire insurance executive George Joseph to let insurers lower rates for drivers who maintain insurance coverage and raise them for drivers who dropped coverage in the past.

Consumer advocates raised about $200,000 to defeat the measure but were dramatically outspent by Joseph, who donated $16 million to the yes campaign.

The Mercury General Corp. chairman contributed the same amount to a similar initiative that was defeated two years ago. In an October interview, the 91 year-old would not rule out a third attempt.

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