The Nov. 2022: Questions and Answers with Ricardo Lara, elected California insurance commissioner

There are two candidates for the Nov. election. 8 for four years as California insurance commissioner: Democratic incumbent Ricardo Lara and Republican cybersecurity software developer Robert Howell. Here are the answers to a seven-question survey The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board emailed to Lara.

Q: What makes you the best fit for this job?

A: I am proud of the work I have done on behalf of California consumers, and I believe that what we have done under the Department of Insurance has made a difference, especially for wildfire survivors.

I am honored to be the first Latino and LGBTQ person to hold this position because I believe that representation is needed, but I know that it is what you do with the position that is most important. This is why I deal with people and use my legal and leadership skills to protect consumers. Helping people is what I do, and it’s what motivates me to get up in the morning.

There is no substitute for what I have in this role. Since 2019, my staff and I have participated in more than 60 town halls and public events, many in collaboration with members of the state Legislature, listening to thousands of homeowners and business owners regarding the growing threat of wildfires to lives and property.

As a result of what I heard at these meetings, I have worked to increase incentives for home security: At my urging, insurance companies have increased their premiums. discount now available for 2 out of every 5 consumers. And it’s the first law in the country that will require discounts on fire insurance for all insurance companies. And it’s the first law in the country that will require discounts on fire insurance for all insurance companies.

I am running for re-election as insurance commissioner to finish the job I started for California consumers.

Q: You have had several controversies and allegations that you have not been successful in your political career, both before and during your tenure as Insurance Commissioner. How can you avoid worrying about such conflicts?

Answer: I have responded to the allegations, apologized for the mistakes, and invested my time and energy in serving California consumers. At this point, I will not allow the mud from the opponent who is no longer in this race and the group of dark money that helped him to establish this policy – the voters rejected him and his political criminals for a reason. There is real work to be done for California consumers, and that continues to be my focus.

Question: How can you make sure that homeowners, especially those in wildfire areas, know the steps necessary to remain eligible for home insurance and that insurance companies are treated properly when they need help?

Answer: I am following legislation that would reduce the cost of insurance for those who make their homes safe from wildfires. If you do the work, you should see a reward in your insurance. That’s why I created the first Safer from Wildfires plan with the Gov. administration. Gavin Newsom, creating safer ways to protect homes and people from wildfires.

I have also introduced a new law to protect homeowners’ insurance in response to state-declared wildfire emergencies – a law I wrote while in Parliament. My practice has saved over 4 million since 2019.

I’m working on developing ways to help homeowners. I ordered FAIR Plan – California’s insurance safety net – to increase homeowners’ Learning limits, and to provide books for homeowners’ insurance Learning methods to increase the current limited Learning. When the FAIR Plan tried to block it, the judge ruled in July that I have the authority to call on the FAIR Plan to provide additional measures to benefit consumers and that I will take steps to implement this once this case is resolved.

Q: How can you ensure that property owners can remain insured against the growth of wildfires, droughts, sea level rise and other perils due to weather hazards?

Answer: Climate change is a threat to the health and safety of all Californians, and I am taking immediate action to protect people from climate change-related disasters while giving consumers more choices.

I started it first contract and emergency planning and response agencies within the governor’s government, namely the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, and the California Public Utilities Commission, to create a “Safer from Wildfires” and provide consistent and feasible wildfire protection strategies for homes and communities with recommendations from consumer groups, fire officials and insurance agents.

My practice also applies to businesses and homeowners. In addition to ordering the FAIR Plan to do more to help homeowners, I also ordered the FAIR Plan to do more increase its sales-related margins, which has not been raised in at least 24 years. The department is taking additional methods to protect a competitive insurance market for family farmers, vintners, growers and other foreign and rural businesses.

I collaborated with the state Legislature on legislation to increase the wages and benefits of relocation for wildfire survivors (Senate Bill 872 in 2020) and develop new disclosures and solutions to implement built-in code (Assembly Bill 2756 in 2020).

I am also using the first of its kind Climate Insurance Report. I ordered Weather Insurance Group Under the law I wrote, Senate Bill 30, provides 40 federal and local recommendations that focus on reducing damage and improving the recovery of vulnerable populations following wildfires, extreme heat or flooding.

I am working with insurance officials across the country and the United Nations to build a sustainable insurance sector that will continue to protect Californians by focusing on green businesses, disclosure of fossil fuels and rapid response to climate threats.

Q: An insurance professional does not play a major role in health insurance decisions. Should that change? Why?

A: I can only speak to the system we have in place and I have worked hard to use my current powers at the California Department of Insurance to ensure that insurers return their hard-earned money to consumers. As an insurance administrator, I ordered health insurance companies to refund payments due to reduced medical services during the pandemic. I also advised health insurance companies to increase telephone access to consumers.

California law is clear that we protect reproductive rights and abortion insurance. Under my administration, the Department of Insurance will continue to protect the right to choose and enforce all laws necessary for insurers to cover abortions.

Q: What are your thoughts on Proposition 1, which would enshrine Californians’ right to abortion and birth control in the state constitution?

A: I am a vocal supporter of Proposition 1, Reproductive Rights. I believe that all medical decisions, including abortion, should be between individuals and their health care providers.

California is a reproductive rights state, and I will do my part to make sure it stays that way. This issue should not be about politics, and human rights should not be taken away. We must protect the right to basic services such as abortion and family planning so that regardless of which political party is in power, we all have the right to our own bodies. That’s why I urge all Californians to join me in voting “yes” on Proposition 1.

Q: Why should voters choose your opponent?

A: There is no substitute for the experience I’ve had in this position, and I want to continue the progress we’ve made. I am here to fight for consumers and know how to use tools like the insurance commissioner to do so.

For example, I have ordered insurance companies to provide premium services to drivers and businesses during the pandemic due to the reduced risk of loss, resulting in lower costs. $2.4 billion and counting. I will continue to hold these insurance companies accountable to consumers.

I have also been an environmental advocate as an insurance agent. I believe that while California can do a lot on its own, we are stronger when we work together. That’s why I’m leading a bipartisan effort to get all insurance companies to use the Task Force on Climate Related Financial Disclosures guidelines for climate reporting, which hundreds of companies use around the world. I’ve also helped write legislation to promote technology and business in clean air, promote justice, protect our coastline, repair oil drilling damage and maintain California’s global role in addressing climate change.

The truth is, I’ve done things that have never been done before: From giving consumers money to make more progress in reporting climate change, to providing incentives for homeowners to protect their homes in wildfire-prone areas to making a real difference. for FAIR. plans and insurance in California. I’ve been innovating since day one, and I’m just getting started.