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.