PRIORITIES

Working to protect California consumers and families

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara protects California consumers and ensures a competitive insurance marketplace. As your Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo has saved drivers more than $1.75 billion in auto insurance premiums and ordered insurance companies to stop non-renewals of over 2.4 million Californians following devastating wildfires. A champion for access to quality health care and consumer rights, Ricardo has worked on legislation and national programs that improve the quality of life for all Californians.

Responding to COVID-19

  • Directed insurance companies to provide premium relief to drivers and businesses due to reduced risk of loss, leading to cost savings of $1.75 billion and counting
  • Directed health insurance companies to return premiums due to reduced use of healthcare services during the pandemic
  • Eliminated health insurance cost-sharing for COVID-19 testing
  • Directed health insurance companies to provide increased Telehealth access for consumers
  • Adopted emergency workers’ compensation regulations to reduce pandemic-related costs for businesses
  • Directed insurance companies to fairly investigate all business interruption claims
  • Extended grace periods for premium payments to consumers and businesses
weather, thermometer, temperature, sick, hot, medical

Climate Risk

  • Created the nation’s first Climate and Sustainability branch within the Department of Insurance
  • Launched the first subnational state-level partnership with the United Nations to create a “sustainable insurance roadmap”
  • Created the Climate Insurance Working Group mandated by Senate Bill 30 (Lara, 2018) to identify innovative insurance solutions to climate change
  • Joined the Extreme Heat Resilience Alliance in calling for the naming and ranking of heat waves
  • Co-chairing the first executive level task force of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners dedicated to Climate Risk & Sustainability

Wildfires

  • Protected over 2.4 million policyholders from insurance non-renewal following declared wildfire disasters in 2020 — and more than 1 million in 2019 under a law he authored
  • Launched a partnership with Governor Newsom’s administration to establish wildfire mitigation measures that will lead to insurance incentives for hardened homes and communities
  • Introduced regulations to give homes and businesses open access to their property’s “risk scores,” which insurance companies use to price premiums and deny coverage — and require those scores incorporate the benefit of defensible space and other home-hardening actions
  • Announced actions to protect the availability and affordability of insurance and held the first-ever investigatory hearing into the threat that wildfires pose to a competitive insurance market
  • Visited more than two dozen counties to hear directly from thousands of residents and local leaders about insurance issues related to wildfires
  • Sponsored legislation signed by Governor Newsom that allows wildfire survivors to better access their benefits by cutting red tape for inventories, advance payment of living expenses, giving grace periods for payment of premiums, and requiring additional living expenses be paid when a home is uninhabitable due to an evacuation order or lack of water or power caused by a fire 
  • Sponsored legislation signed by Governor Newsom tthat requires insurance companies to give notice when they non-renew a consumer but offer a lesser “difference in conditions policy,” and extend coverage for building code upgrades

Health Care and Equity

  • Authored legislation that would create a single-payer health care system for California and wrote the Health4All Kids Act — which was signed into law and now covers all California children with full-scope Medi-Cal
  • Sponsored the Equal Insurance HIV Act signed by Governor Newsom in 2020 to stop insurance companies from denying life and disability income insurance coverage based solely on HIV status
  • Led effort with 17 other state insurance commissioners to submit a letter to the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to protect rules addressing unfair treatment of transgender consumers
  • Sponsored legislation signed by Governor Newsom in 2019 to extend the Department’s insurance diversity initiative and expand it to include LGBT- and veteran-owned businesses
  • Introduced reforms to make auto premium discounts more widely available to low-income consumers and communities of color