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OPINION
February 8, 2008
Los Angeles needs more police officers, but they're hard to recruit because living here is so expensive. Although the pay is good, attracting officers might be easier if there were even more money to offer. Higher salaries aren't possible, though, given the city's huge budget shortfall. City Hall's solution: Get a private donor to give money to be used for one-time signing bonuses. Mercury Insurance -- a company founded and still based in Los Angeles -- gave $1 million.
ARTICLES BY DATE
NEWS
November 8, 2012 | By Jon Healey, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
What do Thomas Steyer and Chris Kelly know that fellow California high-rollers George Joseph, Molly Munger, her brother Charles T. Munger Jr. and Nicolas Berggruen don't? All six multimillionaires bankrolled a ballot proposition in this year's election. But voters approved the ones backed by Steyer, a financier in San Francisco, and Kelly, a former Facebook executive; the rest effectively flushed their money down a rathole. Here's one reason: Steyer and Kelly had the good sense to align themselves with unions.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2009 | STEVE LOPEZ
The ads weren't far from each other on Wilshire Boulevard in Koreatown. One, on a billboard, was critical of an automobile and home insurance company. The other, draped across the sprawling face of a tall building, was a vodka promotion that appeared to include an essential part of the female anatomy. Any guess which one was torn down because of a complaint? "Truth is more controversial than pornography," said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog, whose ad was dismantled last week.
NEWS
November 5, 2012 | By Jon Healey
The campaign in favor of Proposition 33 has been so consistently misleading, it's almost pointless to keep criticizing the measure's supporters for warping the facts. Nevertheless, an advertisement Monday in favor of the measure makes a point that bears rebutting before voters head to the polls. The proposition would allow auto insurers to offer discounts to drivers who'd been insured by rival companies, offset by surcharges on new customers who'd been uninsured or whose coverage had lapsed.
BUSINESS
September 4, 2009 | Nathan Olivarez-Giles
It was big. It was bright. It was controversial. And now it's gone. On Thursday, CBS Outdoor Inc. took down a billboard graphic -- black text on a screaming yellow background -- reading: "Consumer Watchdog says: 'You Can't Trust Mercury Insurance.' " The towering Mid-Wilshire billboard was in a prime spot for attracting attention, at least from Mercury Insurance's parent company, Mercury General Corp. It sat about half a mile east of corporate headquarters. Consumer Watchdog's billboard was taken down because Mercury, California's third-largest auto insurer and ninth-largest homeowners insurer, complained to CBS Outdoor, said Harvey Rosenfield, founder of Consumer Watchdog.
REAL ESTATE
June 6, 2004 | Jeff Bertolucci, Special to The Times
In the 1976 apocalyptic horror flick "The Omen," a snarling Rottweiler protects the antichrist child Damien Thorn, allowing him to unleash his devilish proclivities on a naive world. The beast is Damien's pet, and no one in the film questions the wisdom of allowing the menacing canine to roam the halls of the Thorn mansion. Update the plot to 2004, however, and the family's insurance agent probably would have an opinion.
NEWS
January 19, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
An automobile insurance discount initiative, more than 99% bankrolled by the chairman of Mercury Insurance, has qualified to go before voters on November's ballot. Officially sponsored by a trade group, the American Agents Alliance, the proposal would provide motorists, who switch insurance companies, with a discount if they had been previously insured. Passage of the initiative, whose petitions got signatures from almost 505,000 registered voters, would make the automobile insurance market more competitive, supporters argue.
NEWS
November 5, 2012 | By Jon Healey
The campaign in favor of Proposition 33 has been so consistently misleading, it's almost pointless to keep criticizing the measure's supporters for warping the facts. Nevertheless, an advertisement Monday in favor of the measure makes a point that bears rebutting before voters head to the polls. The proposition would allow auto insurers to offer discounts to drivers who'd been insured by rival companies, offset by surcharges on new customers who'd been uninsured or whose coverage had lapsed.
NEWS
November 8, 2012 | By Jon Healey, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
What do Thomas Steyer and Chris Kelly know that fellow California high-rollers George Joseph, Molly Munger, her brother Charles T. Munger Jr. and Nicolas Berggruen don't? All six multimillionaires bankrolled a ballot proposition in this year's election. But voters approved the ones backed by Steyer, a financier in San Francisco, and Kelly, a former Facebook executive; the rest effectively flushed their money down a rathole. Here's one reason: Steyer and Kelly had the good sense to align themselves with unions.
BUSINESS
January 16, 2006 | E. Scott Reckard, Times Staff Writer
Gender matters to auto insurer Mercury General Corp., while Farmers Insurance Exchange cares more about marital status. And at Automobile Club of Southern California, the people setting the rates look closely at how many vehicles you want to insure. California's biggest auto insurance companies use a variety of factors to set rates, and no two are exactly alike in how they weight them.
BUSINESS
October 8, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
SACRAMENTO -- Insurance billionaire George Joseph has poured another $8 million into his self-funded campaign to pass Proposition 33, a change in California insurance law he's been trying to get for a dozen years. Joseph's latest contribution was posted on the secretary of state's website Monday. In all, he has given 99.5% of the $16.2 million that the Yes on 33 campaign has raised for the contest on the Nov. 6 California ballot. Joseph said he is personally bankrolling the campaign and its television advertising because he believes that passage of Proposition 33 would create a more competitive insurance market that would boost the prospects of his Mercury General Corp.
SPORTS
July 15, 2012 | By Andrew L. John
A year removed from what could be considered a low point for the Mercury Insurance Open, the once premier women's tennis tournament appears to be on an upswing. A $50-million renovation of the host site at La Costa Resort and Spa at Carlsbad has certainly helped. While the resort was upgraded, tournament organizers oversaw changes to the tennis facilities that are primarily in an effort to attract the best WTA players, many of whom have skipped the event in recent years. This year's event began Saturday and goes through Sunday.
NEWS
April 17, 2012 | By Jon Healey
This post has been updated. See below. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to name a group that opposes government oversight of health  insurance premiums " Californians Against Higher Healthcare Costs . " Especially when the group includes the trade associations for doctors and hospitals, two sets of Californians who've contributed mightily to the high cost of healthcare. But it takes at least twice that amount of nerve, plus no small amount of irony, for the group to put out a press release accusing the other side of being funded by "special interests that will directly benefit from its passage.
NEWS
January 19, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher
An automobile insurance discount initiative, more than 99% bankrolled by the chairman of Mercury Insurance, has qualified to go before voters on November's ballot. Officially sponsored by a trade group, the American Agents Alliance, the proposal would provide motorists, who switch insurance companies, with a discount if they had been previously insured. Passage of the initiative, whose petitions got signatures from almost 505,000 registered voters, would make the automobile insurance market more competitive, supporters argue.
SPORTS
August 6, 2011 | By Diane Pucin
Pancho Segura, 90, once ranked No. 1 in the world and wise in the ways of tennis, considered the 2-hour 10-minute semifinal match he watched Saturday afternoon between Agnieszka Radwanska and Andrea Petkovic, which featured Radwanska compensating for a sore right shoulder and Petkovic running to a bathroom mid-game to throw up. Segura smiled. "There was some excellent tennis played today," Segura said from his seat at the La Costa Spa and Resort tennis court, under an umbrella.
SPORTS
August 5, 2011 | By Diane Pucin
It's a matter of experience as much as talent, a battle in the brain as much as on the tennis court sometimes. Sloane Stephens is 18 years old and has played only 10 WTA-level matches. Andrea Petkovic is 23 and has been a pro since 2006, and when you play against the best more often you learn things. For example, Stephens made a crucial mistake in the first set, in the sixth game of her quarterfinal match Friday at the Mercury Insurance Open in Carlsbad, when she and Petkovic had traded service holds and the match seemed destined to stay competitive.
OPINION
November 7, 1999
There's nothing new about special interests designing and writing a ballot measure and funding a signature-gathering campaign. If the slogan includes "justice," it must be the trial lawyers. If it includes "fraud," it must be insurance companies. Or think of last year's titanic, big-spending campaign for Indian gambling.
BUSINESS
May 21, 2008 | DAVID LAZARUS
A lot of readers were miffed to learn in one of my recent columns that most car insurers have yet to fully comply with a state regulation requiring that people's driving records, rather than their ZIP Codes, be the primary factor in setting rates. West L.A. resident Liz Brown was so incensed that she wrote to the chairman of her insurer, Mercury Insurance Co., to complain about the $1,256 she's charged annually for her 1997 Honda Del Sol. And you know what? He called her back.
SPORTS
August 5, 2011
MERCURY INSURANCE OPEN Saturday's featured matches: at La Costa Resort and Spa, Carlsbad (seedings in parentheses) Stadium Court Beginning at 2 p.m. Agnieszka Radwanska (3) vs. Andrea Petkovic (2). Beginning at 7 p.m. Vera Zvonareva (1) vs. Ana Ivanovic (5).
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