103: 'Quicksand' or Sound Law?

The insurance commission hearings on territorial ratings remind me of why I voted for Prop. 103. I live several miles west of downtown Los Angeles, and have a 0.7-mile drive to work. Sometimes I just walk. For this I pay $973 per year for minimum coverage on a 1967 Volkswagen. My insurer includes little notes with the bills, congratulating me for earning the lowest rate.

If I were to live 25 miles away in Manhattan Beach, my premium would drop to around $500 per year. I would drive the same streets I do now, plus another 24.3 miles, greatly increasing my risk. My one accident was being rear-ended near the 405-10 Freeway intersection, i.e., nearer to Manhattan Beach. This is redlining, pure and simple, and if it's not illegal, it should be.

The rating factors in Prop. 103--driver's safety record, miles driven and years of experience--treat people as individuals and seem more appropriate. If they aren't, then the insurance companies should provide the statistical data that clearly says so, in enough detail for experts to assess.

I suspect the problem is the companies are so lazy that they don't have such data. With insurance mandated by law, this sloppiness is not acceptable.

I did not vote for Prop. 103 for "20% lower rates" or the other Naderite gimmicks. I voted for it because of the sense of injustice that I and many others feel.


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