California Court Rejects Insurance Challenge to Prop. 103

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The Sacramento Superior Court issued a decision rejecting an insurance industry challenge on the California insurance commissioner’s regulations under Proposition 103 that limit the amount of advertising costs insurers may pass on to consumers through insurance premiums.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones called the ruling in Mercury v. Jones an important win for California.

“The insurance industry joined Mercury Casualty Company in a lawsuit to challenge not only the order I issued lowering Mercury’s rates, but to challenge also an important regulation that prevents insurers from passing on to consumers the cost of certain advertising,” said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “We contested the insurance industry lawsuit and defended the regulation, in order to protect California consumers. The court’s ruling upholding the regulations and my original order requiring Mercury Casualty Company to lower its homeowner rates is an important victory for consumers and the principles of Proposition 103.”

The case began when Mercury Casualty Co. sued Jones to challenge an order reducing Mercury’s homeowner insurance rates.

Trade associations, including the American Insurance Association, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, Pacific Association of Domestic Insurance Companies, the Personal Insurance Federation of California and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America joined the lawsuit against Jones to challenge the his regulations under Prop. 103.

Prop. 103 requires, among other things, for property/casualty insurers to justify their rates.

Jones said his regulation prohibits insurers from “saddling consumers with the cost of insurers’ generalized or brand advertising for such things as corporate sponsorships of sporting events, purchases of luxury boxes, and insurer name branding on stadiums and arenas.”

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