Insurance Commissioner Poizner has issued supposedly "emergency" regulations that would change new rules protecting consumers from excessive rates under Proposition 103.
Consumer Watchdog founder and Prop 103 author Harvey Rosenfield condemned the changes in a letter to Poizner last week:
Your proposals are an outrageous giveaway to the insurance
industry, and it will come as no surprise if these hastily adopted
amendments go into effect, the result will be unnecessary insurance premium increases for Californian consumers and businesses -- particularly for motorists and homeowners -- and excessive profits for insurance companies.
Former Insurance Commissioner Garamendi joined the fray on behalf of consumers (see the AP):
My administration's prior approv[al] regulations were adopted after years of reflection, meetings, public hearings, and negotiations. The process was public and thorough, and intended finally to end years of struggle and acrimony over the proper balance between the voters' intentions as expressed in Proposition 103 and the legitimate needs of a competitive insurance market place.
It is essential that we foster an environment in which insurers want to
compete and expand. If such an environment does not exist, consumers
will be hurt in the form of reduced choices and higher prices. The
regulation you left me was flawed because it ignored this fundamental
But it's hard to see how insurance companies are suffering when California is the 4th most competitive auto insurance marketplace in the nation, and where insurers' average ten-year profit was 10.1% (2% above the national average), according to the 100-page study issued by the Consumer Federation of America last month.