The Hispanic auto consumer is a force to be reckoned with. Last year, according to Univision, the Hispanic consumer accounted for an 8% increase in auto sales compared to every other ethnic group, which were flat or even down. This economic muscle is also powering the California economy. So, our leaders and regulators need to respect and encourage this continued growth, by finding ways to allow our community to access affordable auto insurance.
A car is critical to making a living and working in California, and if you want to drive, you are mandated to carry auto insurance. One effective way drivers can save on auto insurance is by getting discounted coverage through an affinity group insurance program. Some groups are calling on California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to restrict affinity group auto insurance programs, which would add additional cost to the consumers who currently benefit from these programs.
We should know: At the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce our over 800,000 Hispanic business owners and their families benefit directly from these types of programs. We have held an affinity relationship with an auto insurer for over 10 years, and our program benefits thousands of Latino and non-Latino community and family members.
California cannot afford to go backward as the cost of living continues to rise. It is clear from recent data from the California Department of Insurance that there is work to be done in keeping auto insurance affordable, especially for minority communities. We see offering auto insurance through affinity groups as part of the potential solution.
In addition to affinity groups supporting organizations like CHCC, there are also affinity groups supporting a broad range of ethnic backgrounds, unions and job types including firefighters, teachers, veterans, police officers, hotel workers, janitors and many others. These are hardworking Californians and they rely on affinity groups to save some money so they can pay their electrical bill and keep food on the table.
Contrary to stereotypes, California is a majority-minority state, and majority working-class. Policies aimed broadly at California are thus aimed at our most vulnerable, and we owe it to our residents to preserve the programs that help with insurance costs. Dramatic headlines tend to bury the facts, but I believe that our policies don’t have to fall prey to the same trap. We need to reach out to the people most impacted, work collaboratively with them, and refine, review and reset our policies based on facts and the best interests of our residents.
When it comes to making car insurance more affordable in California, affinity groups are part of the solution — not part of the problem.