Myth vs. Fact on Ray Peretti
Myth – This was a letter written, mailed, and paid for by a local insurance agent.
Fact- Ray Peretti is not your typical neighborhood insurance agent. Basic research reveals he has a long history as insurance industry lobbyist, advocating against the rights of consumers. He has been a strong advocate for expansive and unfettered use of personal information and credit scores to set higher rates for consumers, which hits particularly hard on people of lower incomes. Google him to see for yourself.
Peretti did not pay for or mail this letter. The organization paying for the mailing, “Consumers Against Higher Insurance Rates” is actually a front group entirely funded by the insurance industry. If you look at the state’s Public Disclosure Commission website www.pdc.wa.gov, this phony consumer group has received nearly $8 million from large, out-of-state insurance companies. The insurance industry is shattering spending records for our state to try and defeat Referendum 67, which simply requires the insurance industry treat people fairly and reasonably.
Myth – “A similar law in California created a flood of lawsuits and was later overturned by the people of California.”
Fact – The comparison to California is completely irrelevant and deliberately deceptive, and the insurance industry knows it. The discussion about California law is from a 1980’s law that only applied to what is called third-party insurance claims – that is, claims against some one else’s insurance company. R67 applies only to claims involving your own personal insurance that you have paid for. Consumer insurance experts in California have stated that this is not just like comparing apples to oranges – its like comparing fruit to appliances. They are totally unrelated.
The same insurance industry lobbyists and executives who are paying for this campaign know that this is deceptive. They were forced to admit in front of Washington’s Legislature that this bill has nothing to do with the California experience and were directed by committee chairs in the House and Senate to abandon this argument because it is patently false:
“The California experience was based on a third-party bad faith law… We want you to all realize that we understand that this bill no longer applies to third-party claimants.” – Jean Leonard, State Farm Insurance and Property-Casualty Insurers of America, March 22, 2007. Please see transcripts from these hearings at www.approve67.org.
Once more, the California law actually stabilized premiums three years before the law in question was overturned. Check out what California consumer groups have to say at www.consumerwatchdog.org.
Myth – “Insurance Premiums will go up if R67 passes.”
Fact – Referendum 67 will not affect Washington insurance premiums. State regulations administered by the Office of the Insurance Commissioner do not allow the use of payments for bad faith claims to be used by insurers in setting rates. Any additional court ordered penalties go to the insurer, and cannot be passed onto consumers. Furthermore, R67 gives every insurer 20 days to receive all the facts and information and then have an opportunity to settle a claim before any lawsuit can be filed.
Myth – “Insurers will be deluged by frivolous claims and this will create a bonanza for trial lawyers.”
Fact – R67 simply requires insurance companies to pay legitimate claims in a timely fashion and makes it illegal if they don’t. Insurance companies following the rules will not have to fear this new law. In fact, insurance companies who are treating their customers fairly will have an edge in the marketplace because the companies that don’t treat policyholders fairly will be subject to court-approved penalties.
All penalties assessed against an insurance company charged with unfair practices must be court approved under R67.