Watch the Video of the Press Conference:
Carlsbad, CA — A plane towing the message "Don't Trust Mercury" flew over Center Court during the Finals match at the Mercury Insurance Tennis Open and a mobile billboard carrying the same message circled the La Costa resort in Carlsbad, CA near San Diego Sunday; to help expose the anti-consumer practices of tournament sponsor Mercury Insurance. The company is also poised to spend millions of dollars to rehash its failed 2010 ballot measure, which would have allowed insurance companies to surcharge millions of California motorists.
"Mercury Insurance may hope that sponsoring a tennis tournament helps improve it's image, but we're going to make sure that Californians know they can't trust Mercury," said Brian Stedge, a consumer advocate for Consumer Watchdog, which organized the fly-over. "Mercury has a long history of anti-consumer behavior and is at it again with yet another deceptive and self-serving ballot measure that it plans to serve up to California voters in 2012."
Mercury, which is California's fourth largest auto insurer, has been described by California regulators as having "a deserved reputation for abusing its customers and intentionally violating the law with arrogance and indifference." In June, JD Powers and Associates ranked Mercury as one of the nation's worst insurance companies.[i] Consumer Watchdog has created a web page at: http://DontTrustMercury.Org to expose why insurance customers and citizens generally should not trust Mercury Insurance.
Consumer Watchdog's airplane banner reads: "Consumer Watchdog Says: Don't Trust Mercury" and circled center court during the end of the Mercury Open's Singles Final. The mobile billboard circled the entrance of the Mercury Open for 8 hours, starting at 10AM and ending at 6PM.
Mercury At It Again – Wants To Repeal Consumer Protection Law Voters Defended in 2010
Mercury Insurance has teamed up once again with the Agents Alliance to propose a ballot initiative virtually identical to 2010's Prop 17, which was defeated by voters. Mercury’s initiative would legalize surcharges by Mercury and other insurance companies that are now illegal under California's Proposition 103. The Proposition has saved California motorists over $62 billion.
Student Advocate Cody Rosenfield said, “I am standing up to Mercury’s misleading campaigns to hit drivers with rate hikes; especially students who live on campus and drop auto insurance during the school year. We should not be punished for going to college.”
Mercury hopes to fool voters, who weren't fooled in 2010, into believing that its planned initiative would create savings for consumers. But, according to Consumer Watchdog, the Mercury initiative would lead to surcharges of more than 40% for Californians who had a lapse in insurance coverage – even if they had not been driving or did not own a car.
"Mercury could serve its policyholders far better by spending money on improving customer service rather than on anti-consumer initiatives and tennis tournaments" said Brian Stedge of Consumer Watchdog.
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[i] <file://localhost/x-msg/::19:#_ednref1> JD Power and Associates 2011 U.S. National Auto Insurance Survey – http://businesscenter.jdpower.com/JDPAContent/CorpComm/News/content/Releases/pdf/2011087-nai3.pdf