CDI Orders Auto Insurers To Reveal Pandemic Profits

By Dave LaChance, REPAIRER DRIVEN NEWS

October 7, 2022

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2022/10/07/cdi-orders-auto-insurers-…

Maintaining that auto insurers still owe rebates to California drivers who were overcharged during the stay-at-home period of the pandemic, the state’s insurance commissioner has ordered 47 carriers to provide detailed information about their claim costs during that time.

Novice Republican Or Democrat Embroiled In Controversy? Voters To Pick Next Insurance Commissioner

By Melody Gutierrez, LOS ANGELES TIMES

October 3, 2022

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-03/voters-to-decide-ne…

SACRAMENTO —  California voters will decide this November who will lead a state agency that wields significant power over home, auto and other insurance policies, selecting between an incumbent Democrat embroiled in controversy and his novice Republican challenger.

KNX 1070AM Los Angeles, CA: Insurance Companies Are Using Your Private Information To Raise Your Rates

By Emily Valdes, KNX 1070AM Los Angeles, CA

September 25, 2022

Click here to listen to the audio of this radio broadcast segment.

Harvey Rosenfield, author of Proposition 103 from 1988, tells KNX how insurance companies are using AI and online tracking to collect our private information without our consent and in violation of Prop 103.

Will New Regulations Do Enough To Keep Homeowners From Losing Fire Insurance?

By Michael Finney & Randall Yip, KGO ABC TV-7 San Francisco, CA

September 9, 2022

https://abc7news.com/fire-insurance-home-risk-score-danger/12213902/

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KGO) -- Homeowners in California who live in a high-risk fire zones could find it easier to get their home policies renewed. That's if new state regulations work as intended. Not everyone is convinced it will work.

Insurance Commissioner Lara’s Regulation Preserves Loophole Letting Insurers Ignore Wildfire Mitigation for Denial or Non-Renewal of Homeowners Policies

Los Angeles, CA – California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today submitted a long-awaited regulation for final approval that will require insurance companies to provide premium discounts to homeowners who reduce their risk of loss from wildfires. But under the regulations as submitted, homeowners can spend thousands of dollars on wildfire mitigation, reducing their risk, but still lose their coverage or get no break from insura

Final Briefs Filed in Lawsuit Against Insurance Commissioner Lara & Department of Insurance Over Pay-to-Play Records

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog filed its final briefs in a California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) lawsuit against Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Department of Insurance. The CPRA suit alleges that Lara and the Department failed to search for and produce records related to a pay-to-play scandal involving insurance companies with business pending before the agency. 

Statement of Consumer Watchdog on Violations of California Law by Mercury Insurance Uncovered by the California Department of Insurance

Los Angeles, CA - Today’s revelation by the California Department of Insurance(CDI) that Mercury Insurance Company has engaged in massive violations of Proposition 103 and other California consumer protection laws is deeply disturbing. But for those who have followed the sorry history of Mercury’s brazen misconduct, which dates back decades, it can come as no surprise.

Suit Seeks Release of CDI Meeting Records In California ‘Pay To Play’ Lawsuit

By Dave LaChance, REPAIRER DRIVEN NEWS

July 18, 2022

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2022/07/18/suit-seeks-release-of-cdi…

A California consumer rights organization is asking a court to order Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s office to disclose records of all meetings with representatives of insurance companies involved in what it calls the office’s “pay-to-play scandal.”

Opening Brief Filed in Public Records Lawsuit Against Insurance Commissioner Lara & Agency Over Pay-to-Play Records

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog filed its Opening Brief in a California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) lawsuit against Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Department of Insurance.  The CPRA suit alleges that Lara and the Department of Insurance failed to search for and produce records related to a pay-to-play scandal involving insurance companies with business pending before the agency.

KGO ABC TV-7 San Francisco, CA: FAIR Plan insurance Criticized for Expense, Lack of Coverage in Insurance Commissioner Hearing

Report: California Insurers Are Lowballing Or Denying Wildfire Coverage

The California Department of Insurance says the report "contains demonstrably false claims"

By Kevin Smith, SAN BERNARDINO SUN

July 12, 2022

https://www.sbsun.com/2022/07/12/report-california-insurers-are-lowball…

If you own a home that suffered smoke damage from a wildfire, don’t be surprised if your insurance coverage falls short — or is denied.

California Senate Committees Pass Good Government Bills To Close Agency Lobbying Loophole and Bar Destruction of Records

Los Angeles, CA - Today, the California State Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill 11-0 that would require agencies to retain all public records for a minimum of two years. Yesterday, the Senate Elections Committee voted 4-0 to close a loophole in state law that allowed former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez to influence decision-making at the Department of Insurance without registering as a lobbyist. 
 

Regulator Investigates Insurance Companies Funneling $122,500 To Lara Campaign After Complaint Filed Over Failure To Disclose Source

Los Angeles, CA -- Seven insurance companies have contributed $122,500 to the LGBTQ Caucus, which in turn spent the money on an independent expenditure campaign to re-elect Ricardo Lara as insurance commissioner without disclosing the source of the donations.
 

California Assembly Passes Good Government Bills To Close Agency Lobbying Loophole and Bar Destruction of Records

Los Angeles, CA - Today, the California State Assembly passed a bill 65-0 that would close a loophole in state law that allowed Former Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez to influence decision-making at the Department of Insurance without registering as a lobbyist.  On Monday, the Assembly voted 73-0 to pass another bill to require agencies to retain all public records for a minimum of two years.
 

Consumer Groups Back Wildfire Mitigation Insurance Discounts, Call for Protection From Non-Renewals

Insurance Commissioner Lara Must Close Loophole in Regulation Allowing Insurers to Ignore WIldfire Mitigation for Denial or Non-Renewal Decisions

Los Angeles, CA – A regulation proposed by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to stop insurance companies from overcharging homeowners who reduce their risk of loss from wildfires must also apply to insurance companies’ decisions about which properties they will insure, consumer groups will testify at a public hearing in Oakland today. 

Secret Bounties Can Net Consultants Millions to Influence California Officials

By Sophia Bollag, SACRAMENTO BEE 

March 1, 2022

https://www.sacbee.com/article258526768.html

Fabian Núñez and Rusty Areias had a job to do.

The former lawmakers who left public service for private consulting were hired by a workers compensation company to convince the Department of Insurance to allow an acquisition deal to proceed. If they succeeded, they say they were promised a $2 million bounty fee.

Rule to Require Discounts for Wildfire Mitigation Measures Must Also Regulate Scores Secretly Used to Deny Home Insurance, Consumer Watchdog Urges Insurance Commissioner

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog said a regulation proposed by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to require discounts for homeowners who protect their homes from fires is necessary and long overdue -- but falls short when it comes to insurance companies’ non-renewal decisions. As written, the regulation would not require insurance companies to consider home or community mitigation steps when making nonrenewal decisions.

California Insurance Commissioner Candidate Introduces Bills Addressing Alleged Ethical Lapse at Regulatory Office

By Timothy Darragh, BESTWIRE

February 24, 2022

https://news.ambest.com/newscontent.aspx?altsrc=108&refnum=239981

A California lawmaker running for insurance commissioner has proposed a pair of bills to address what he said is a lack of transparency and ethics in the office.

Rules To Mandate Insurance Discounts Are Necessary to Give New CA “Safer From Wildfire” Prevention Guidelines Teeth

Los Angeles, CA – A new state wildfire protection framework released this week is an empty promise for homeowners if the Insurance Commissioner does not also require that insurance companies give discounts to policyholders who follow its recommendations, said Consumer Watchdog today. 

Draft regulations have been under consideration at the Department of Insurance to mandate wildfire mitigation discounts for the past year, yet Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara did not mention the rules or their status when announcing the “Safer From Wildfires” framework this week.

State Farm Doesn’t Have To Refund $100 Million To Homeowners, State Supreme Court Rules

By Bob Egelko, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE

February 9, 2022

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/State-Farm-doesn-t-have-to-…

State Farm Insurance will not have to refund $100 million to homeowners after the state Supreme Court denied appeals Wednesday by California's insurance commissioner and a consumer organization, which both contended the customers had been overcharged.

Department of Insurance Changes Course on Email Deletion Policy that Threatened Records of Pay-to-Play Scandal Days After Consumer Watchdog Threatened to Go to Court

The Department of Insurance pulled back a policy to delete agency email databases days after Consumer Watchdog warned it would go to court to stop it.  Emails that are the subject of Consumer Watchdog’s ongoing Public Records Act litigation against Commissioner Lara and the Department could have been deleted from the servers and lost forever.

Lara Defies Transparency: Refuses To Confirm Or Deny Whether He Or Department Met With Nunez, Serna and Other Known Applied Underwriters Lobbyists In PRA Litigation

Los Angeles, CA -- In responses to requests for admissions in pending litigation, Insurance Commissioner Lara’s Department has refused to answer straightforward questions about meetings and communications between the Department and known lobbyists for Applied Underwriters.   

The outright refusal to confirm or deny whether meetings and communications took place is not only a violation of the Public Records Act (PRA) but also a betrayal of Lara’s pledge for full transparency in the wake of the pay to play scandal involving Applied Underwriters, Consumer Watchdog said.

California Moves to Curtail Job and Education-Based Auto Insurance Discrimination

Sacramento, CA -- Draft regulations released by the Department of Insurance Thursday move California one step closer to stopping auto insurance discrimination that has allowed insurers to overcharge lower income and minority drivers for decades, said Consumer Watchdog. The rules follow a petition submitted by Consumer Watchdog and ten civil rights and community groups to ban the use of job and education level in auto insurance rating.

Insurance Companies Created Home Insurance Crisis, Consumer Watchdog Testifies at Department of Insurance Wildfire Hearing

Los Angeles, CA -- The insurance industry is exploiting California wildfires for its own financial advantage by arbitrarily refusing to sell or renew homeowners’ insurance coverage, even when people improve the fire safety of their property, Consumer Watchdog testified today at a virtual hearing convened by California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Commissioner Lara Should Reject Farmers’ Auto Insurance Rate Hikes and Stop Surcharges Aimed At COVID-19 First Responders and Emergency Workers, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara should reject Farmers Insurance Group’s proposed 6.5–6.9% auto insurance rate increases and its 3-tiered rating system based on occupation under which first responders and essential workers on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 pay higher rates, wrote Consumer Watchdog in a letter to the Commissioner today. Farmers’ request comes as a deadly pandemic sweeps California, for which virtually every California business has been ordered to close and residents ordered to stay home.

Proposed Rule Moves Department of Insurance Closer to Banning Illegal Price Discrimination Against Low-Income Drivers and Communities of Color

In comments submitted on proposed regulations Consumer Watchdog said rule could ban discrimination based on drivers’ occupation and education level; called for key amendments to ensure discrimination based on race and socioeconomic status ends.

Data Shows Insurance Companies Use Occupation and Education to Segregate and Overcharge Communities of Color And Blue-Collar California Drivers

Los Angeles, CA -- An analysis of new data obtained from insurance companies by the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) confirms complaints by Consumer Watchdog and other citizen groups that insurance companies are surcharging motorists based on their occupation or educational status, in violation of insurance reform Proposition 103.

CA Dept of Insurance Confirms Ongoing Insurance Discrimination Based on Education and Profession Affinity Groups

Consumer Watchdog Writes Attorney General & District Attorneys To Investigate IC Ricardo Lara Over Bribery and Money Laundering

Los Angeles, CA – The nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog has written California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the District Attorneys of Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles calling for an investigation of money laundering and bribery relating to the fundraising scandal engulfing California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara.

Insurance Commissioner Lara Delays Calendar Release Another Month

Los Angeles, CA – Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s office will delay disclosure of the Commissioner’s calendar or records of his meetings with insurance companies to August 31st, according to a communication sent to Consumer Watchdog.

Commissioner Lara said that he would disclose his calendars in response to revelations that he took $54,300 in campaign contributions from insurance executives and their spouses, took actions that benefited the insurance company connected to three of those donors, and met with the company’s CEO.

Consumer Watchdog Seeks Disclosures Regarding Influence-Peddling Scandal Under Public Records Act

Los Angeles, CA -- The non-profit, non-partisan Consumer Watchdog gave California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara until July 31 to produce public records related to his meetings with insurance industry representatives who gave him $54,300 in campaign contributions in a letter sent late last week. 

Insurance Commissioner Lara Gives Insurance Industry Money Back, But Questions Remain About Circumstances Of Influence-Peddling At Agency

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s decision to return over $54,000 in contributions from donors tied to a company seeking the Commissioner’s approval for an acquisition was an “important first step that protects the credibility of the elected position you hold.” The non-profit advocacy organization urged the Commissioner to return the money in a letter yesterday.

California Dept. of Insurance Says It Has Stopped Overcharges Exposed by ProPublica

Santa Monica, CA -- Acting in response to an investigative report by journalists at ProPublica, the California Department of Insurance has ordered two insurance companies – Nationwide and USAA – to not charge motorists in minority neighborhoods more than motorists with similar risk profiles who live in predominantly white neighborhoods. California voters banned zip code-based insurance pricing when they passed Proposition 103 to prevent auto insurers from discriminating against minority drivers.