Lara Ran a Positive Campaign Focused on His Proven Record Protecting California Consumers
LOS ANGELES, CA – Today Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara thanked supporters from across California, including nurses, teachers, firefighters and farmworkers, for his 2:1 victory in the Primary Election against Republican Robert Howell.
As the first LGBTQ+ Insurance Commissioner and statewide elected official, Lara garnered support from diverse constituencies across the state.
“I look forward to talking to California voters about our long track record of success in fighting for consumers and giving them a clear contrast between myself and my Republican opponent,” said Lara. “I look forward to meeting with more Californians from across the state to talk about what we’re doing to help wildfire survivors and make insurance accessible to all, no matter what zip code you’re from. I’m here to finish the work I started and look forward to earning your vote again in November.”
Despite a coordinated attack campaign against him by one of his opponents and a dark money special interest lobbying group, Lara remained focused on the work he did as Insurance Commissioner to benefit California consumers. The opponent who spent $1.5 million on mud-slinging and political attacks did not make it to the General Election.
Lara has a successful track record fighting for consumers. Since 2019, Lara and his staff at the California Department of Insurance participated in over 60 town halls and community events, many in partnership with members of the State Legislature, listening to tens of thousands of homeowners and business owners about the growing threat of wildfires to lives and property.
“There’s nothing that substitutes for the experience I have in this position working directly with consumers and wildfire survivors,” Lara added.
Commissioner Lara also:
- Directed insurance companies to provide direct premium relief to California drivers during the pandemic when they were staying off the road. Lara’s executive actions led to cost savings to consumers of more than $2.4 billion.
- Increased home safety incentives: At Commissioner Lara’s urging, insurance companies have significantly expanded premium discounts now available to 2 out of every 5 consumers, providing up to 20 percent discounts for wildfire-hardened homes.
- Created the first-ever Safer from Wildfires framework in partnership with Governor Newsom’s Administration with consistent and achievable wildfire safety measures for homes and communities with input from consumer groups, fire chiefs, and insurance representatives.
- Issued regulations that will require insurance companies to use the Safer from Wildfire framework in pricing. Once implemented, we will have a powerful new tool to save lives, reduce losses, and keep a competitive market for all Californians.
- Expanded FAIR Plan’s coverage for homeowners: Commissioner Lara ordered the FAIR Plan – California’s insurance safety net – to raise homeowners coverage limits, and to offer a comprehensive homeowners’ insurance coverage option in addition to its current limited coverage. While the FAIR Plan has attempted to block it, a judge ruled last year that he has the existing authority to order the FAIR Plan to provide enhanced coverage options benefiting consumers and he is taking action to implement this once the lawsuit is resolved.
- Implemented first-of-its-kind Climate Insurance Report: Commissioner Lara convened the Climate Insurance Working Group under SB 30 (Lara, 2018), issuing 40 state and local policy recommendations in 2021 focused on reducing damage and improving recovery for vulnerable communities following a wildfire, extreme heat wave, or floods. He is sponsoring two bills currently in the Legislature to establish a ranking and early warning system for heat waves (AB 2238, Rivas) and to create climate resilience districts to support pre-disaster preparation (SB 852, Dodd).
- Led a national effort to increase insurance climate transparency: A bipartisan group of state insurance regulators led by Insurance Commissioners Ricardo Lara of California and David Altmaier of Florida adopted a new standard for insurance companies to report their climate-related risks, in alignment with the global TCFD standard used by international regulators and under consideration by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
- Issued first-ever report on insurance companies’ fossil fuel and green investments: Detailed insurance company fossil fuel and tar sands investments as well as green bonds as part of his comprehensive action for a sustainable insurance sector. The action increases transparency for California consumers by allowing them to look up insurance companies’ holdings in fossil fuels and green investments.
- Partnered with the United Nations’ Principles of Sustainable Insurance Initiative, developing California’s Sustainable Insurance Roadmap
- Established the nation’s first Climate and Sustainability Office and Climate Insurance Working Group to address the threat of climate change and develop innovative climate defense strategies to reduce the impact of wildfires, extreme heat, flooding, and sea level rise
- Authored laws investing in clean air, prioritizing equity, protecting our coast, repairing the damage of oil drilling, and landmark short-lived climate pollutant (SLCP) laws setting the nation’s toughest reduction standards
- Launched a pioneering climate smart insurance product database listing more than 400 products available to consumers and businesses
- 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
- Introduced reforms to make auto premium discounts more widely available to low-income consumers and communities of color
- 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
- Strongly supported Health Care for All. As a member of the California State Senate, Lara proudly authored Senate Bill 562, the Healthy California Act, which would have created a universal, single-payer health care system in California. He also authored Senate Bill 4, the Health4All Kids (Chapter 709, Statutes of 2015), that extended health care to all children regardless of where they are born. Today, over 100,000 undocumented children have full-scope health care.
- Fought to expand coverage and access for all Californians. Last year, Lara sponsored Assembly Bill 570, the Parent Healthcare Act (Santiago, Chapter 468, Statutes of 2021), to help reduce health insurance costs for California’s working families. We are implementing that this year to allow adult children to add their dependent parents to their health plans.
- Sponsored Senate Bill 280 (Limón, Chapter 636, Statutes of 2021), which expands the benefits required in large group health insurance products and forbids health insurers from discriminating based upon demographic factors including sexual orientation and gender identity. I have issued multiple regulations, notices, and bulletins to ensure insurers do not pass costs onto consumers, cover HIV PrEP without cost-sharing, and ensure transgender youth have access to gender affirming care.
- Strongly supports enshrining California’s status as a reproductive freedom state through a state constitutional amendment guaranteeing access to abortion and contraception and giving voters a say in November.
For more information, please visit www.RicardoLara.com.