Ads For Controversial Car Insurance Initiative Feature “Real People” From PR Company Hired To Promote Measure

“We are real PR company employees”

Voters in California will soon say yay or nay to Prop 33, a ballot measure that would change the way auto insurance rates are calculated. Ads for the initiative feature real consumers talking about the money they would save on car insurance if Prop 33 were to pass. But what’s not mentioned in those ads is the fact that some of these people work for the PR company hired to promote the measure.

The woman featured in this ad says she’s a recent college grad who lives at home with her parents:

Maybe everything she claims is true, but the folks at Consumer Watchdog point out what the ad doesn’t mention: That she apparently works for this company, which has been hired to do publicity for the campaign.

She pops up again in this ad, along with at least two more people from the same company:

Because campaign finance law requires advertisers to declare if people in the ads are paid spokespersons, Consumer Watchdog made its own video that highlights additional ads featuring apparent PR shills:

Prop 33, which is an update of a failed initiative from a couple years ago (Prop 17), is mainly backed by one billionaire, George Joseph, owner of Mercury Insurance. It would allow for insurance companies to a “continuous coverage” discount for drivers who have had insurance for the previous five years, regardless of whether it was with the same company or not.

Opponents of Prop 33 say that it will result in higher rates for people who dropped insurance while experiencing long-term unemployment, or who decided they didn’t need insurance for a few years because they could commute to work without a car.

“All drivers will be hurt,” writes the San Francisco Chronicle, “because charging higher prices to people who don’t already have insurance means more drivers will go uninsured because they can’t afford coverage. That increases uninsured motorist premiums for everyone.”

The L.A. Times recently came out against Prop 33, saying it shifts the main focus of rate calculation away from a driver’s record.

“[B]ecause there’s no relationship to risk, the discount would be equally available to bad drivers and good ones,” writes the Times.