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What Californians are Saying

Unions, Community Organizations, Minority-Owned Business Leaders, Clergy and Others Speak Out Against California Department of Insurance Regulations that Would Take Away Car Insurance Discounts From Millions. Here’s what they’re saying:

Robert B. Hamilton, President & General Manager – California State Firefighters Employee Welfare Benefits Corporation (CSFEWBC)

“Many of our members are able to obtain auto insurance discounts as part of their CSFA membership. The proposed regulations will very likely reduce this discount significantly or eliminate it entirely.”

Pastor Eddie Jones Jr., President – Los Angeles Civil Rights Association (LARCA)

“Affinity group discounts are a much-needed lifeline for many, particularly communities of color. The Department of Insurance eliminating these programs would be a mistake.”

 Julian Cañete, President and CEO – California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce

“The members of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, representing the interests of California’s over 815,000 Hispanic business owners, have benefitted from an affinity relationship for nearly a decade. This discount has enabled our members to save much-needed dollars on their home and auto insurance. The last thing the Hispanic community needs now is for the Department of Insurance to take away our insurance discounts.”

 Edwin A. Lombard III, President & CEO – California African American Chamber of Commerce (CAACC)

“In a time when Black businesses are struggling just to survive, a contraction or loss of this [affinity discount] program, and the extra cost of a few hundred dollars each year for our members, can mean a skipped doctor visit or postponed vacation for a small business owner and their family.”

Robert L. Jones, President & CEO – California Association of Black Pastors (CABP)

“These programs allow our community members to purchase insurance at discounted rates, leading to more financial security and peace of mind. Stagnant wages and the ever-increasing cost of living leave far too many of the men and women we serve in a desperate state.”

 Brian R. Marvel, President – Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC)

“The draft regulations impose unrealistic membership verification processes and onerous filing and data reporting requirements that will substantially increase the overall cost of offering a legitimate group program like ours.”

Pastor William D. Smart Jr., President and CEO – Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Southern California

”Prioritize all Californians by expanding, not eliminating the eligibility of affinity program discounts. California can only benefit from a more robust and inclusive expansion of these cost-saving programs.”

 Gloria Colazo, Regional Director – Ecuadorian and Salvadoran Chambers of Commerce

“I know firsthand that many individuals in our community are actively benefiting from the savings afforded by affinity programs, and I have seen it make a difference. When the economic belt is already tight, there is no logic behind taking away a program that gives so many that breathing room they need to cover the cost of living in such an expensive state.”

 Lawanda Lyons-Pruitt, President – NAACP Santa Maria-Lompoc Branch

“Part of racial justice is consciousness-raising, and if the California Department of Insurance intends to truly equalize the playing field, we recommend partnering with like-minded organizations to reach communities of color rather than eliminating the [affinity program] opportunity altogether.”

 Kristen F. Soares, President – Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU)

“These proposed regulations go too far and would likely harm many of the hardworking Californians they are designed to protect.”

Cedric White, President – Antelope Valley Black Chamber of Commerce

“If forced to shell out hundreds more each year for their auto insurance, California’s Black communities will be among the first to feel the effects. We will see some foregoing auto insurance completely, while others eliminate a different expense simply because they are given no other choice.”

Earl “Skip” Cooper II, President & CEO – Black Business Association

“One more burden, like removing an essential source of income and benefits to our members, is not what our community and our state need right now. In our experience, affinity groups are a win-win proposition that offers inclusive access to hard-working individuals, regardless of their background or income level.”

Rabbi Jonathan D. Klein, Executive Director – Helping Others Prosper Economically (HOPE)

“I am deeply concerned with the Department of Insurance’s recommendation to eliminate affinity programs for thousands of Californians. Many of my congregants find themselves financially overextended, as the cost of living in our state is overwhelming, the pandemic making matters worse for so many.”

Stuart Waldman, President – Valley Industry and Commerce Association (VICA)

“Many of our members’ employees rely on the insurance discounts provided by partnerships with affinity groups. Penalizing unaffiliated businesses, especially small businesses, would hurt many Californians.”

Reverend Dwight Williams, Pastor and President – New Genesis Ministries

“Without the savings that these programs afford to our underserved residents, tough financial decisions can and will be made. The solution to inequality in this state is not to further burden those who fight to get by with more expensive auto insurance.”

Pastor Thembekila Smart – Christ Liberation Ministries

“The cost of living in California has always been high. Now more than ever we need to expand these cost-saving benefits to economically-struggling Californians. To overregulate and hinder the way these discounts are able to operate in our state, at a time when thousands of Californians are reeling financially from a pandemic, is unacceptable.”

Dan Dunmoyer, President and CEO – California Building Industry Association

“Many of those employed in the residential construction industry, as well as millions of other Californians, including teachers, firefighters, healthcare workers, paramedics, police officers, government employees, nurses, secretaries, realtors and countless others, rely on these group discounts. We question the timing of the proposal which would eliminate, during a pandemic, discounts relied upon by millions.”

Rev. Norman D. Copeland – Co-Founder of HOPE for All & Rev. Barry Settle, Pastor – Allen Chapel AME Church

“Put yourself in the shoes of the hundreds of teachers, nurses, union members, and firefighters who now more than ever have done their part to keep our state going during this pandemic. It is frankly unacceptable that you would extend the economic uncertainty many of them already face during these difficult times.”

Willie Galvan, Administrator – American GI Forum Education Foundation of Santa Maria

“The Santa Maria Valley is over 70% Latinx, with a significant portion of residents speaking Mixteco or Zapotec as a first language. They often find their affinity group discounts through nonprofits like ours that can connect them with resources. Anyone who claims that affinity groups don’t benefit communities like ours simply isn’t looking at communities like ours.”