KOVR CBS TV-13 Sacramento, CA: Insurance Companies Still Owe Over $3 Billion To CA Ratepayers from Overcharges During Lockdown

California Wants To Force Insurers To Reward Homeowners For Fireproofing Homes

By Grace Gedye, CAL MATTERS

May 26, 2022

https://calmatters.org/economy/2022/05/fire-insurance-rules/

IN SUMMARY

New rules proposed by California’s Department of Insurance would require insurers to take homeowners’ efforts to reduce wildfire risk into account when setting premiums. But they would still allow non-renewals.

 

The Dilemma Of Property Insurance On The Hill

By David Jerome, IDYLWILD TOWN CRIER

May 25, 2022

The California Department of Insurance (CDI) is rolling out new regulations mandating that insurers in the state offer discounts to policyholders who undertake fire hazard mitigation and structure "hardening." The rules are intended to make decisions about rate and risk more transparent and more tuned to the specific risk of an individual property, as opposed to just the zone it is in.

Editorial: Elect Levine To End Lara's Insurance Commissioner Scandals

California needs consumer protection, not partying, dining and cozying up with industry lobbyists and executives

By The MERCURY NEWS and EAST BAY TIMES Editorial Boards

April 28, 2022

https://www.mercurynews.com/2022/04/28/editorial-elect-marc-levine-to-e…

California needs a new insurance commissioner - one that voters can feel confident represents their interests.

ELECTION 2022: An Independent Regulator - Marc Levine Would Be An Insurance Commissioner For The People — And The Planet.

By The LOS ANGELES TIMES Editorial Board

April 28, 2022

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-04-28/marc-levine-endorsemen…

Ricardo Lara’s first year as California insurance commissioner — the elected office charged with regulating the state’s $310-billion insurance industry — was an ethical disaster.

California Bill Setting Greater Disclosures on Insurance Department Bottled Up in Committee

By Timothy Darragh, BestWire

April 22, 2022

A bill requiring greater disclosure between California Department of Insurance personnel and insurance companies and other measures failed to get out of a state House committee, virtually dooming them for this legislative session.

The California House Insurance Committee held AB 2323 without a recommendation.

Department of Insurance Ethics Legislation Blocked By Assembly Insurance Committee Today Without A Vote; Committee Members Collected $1.5 Million In Insurance Campaign Cash

Sacramento, CA – Ethics legislation to shine a light on insurance industry influence over decision-making at the Department of Insurance was killed by the Assembly Insurance Committee today when members refused to give the bill a vote.
 
AB 2323 (Levine) would have required the Insurance Commissioner and top-level appointees to publicly disclose meetings and communications with the insurance industry and others seeking to influence Department actions within seven days, and post these reports on the Department website quarterly. 
 

California Climate Insurance Disclosure Bill Stalls

PUBLIC CITIZEN AND CONSUMER WATCHDOG RELEASED THE FOLLOWING TODAY – The California Assembly Insurance Committee has declined to hold a hearing on a bill that would require insurance companies to disclose their role in fueling the climate crisis. The Insurance Investment Disclosures Bill (AB 1694), introduced by Assemblymember Marc Levine (D - Marin County) would mandate transparency and public disclosure by insurance companies of their investments in and underwriting of policies for fossil fuel companies and projects. 
 

Newly Public Documents Allege Allstate Overcharged Loyal California Customers $1 Billion

By Aaron Sankin, THE MARKUP

February 1, 2022

https://themarkup.org/allstates-algorithm/2022/02/01/newly-public-docum…

A pair of newly public documents filed with a California administrative law judge show experts accusing the company of systematically overcharging customers it believed to be the most loyal around $1 billion over the past decade. 

New Evidence Reveals That Commissioner Lara and Top Staff Hid Communications About Meetings With Workers’ Compensation Insurer At Heart of Pay-to-Play Scandal

Los Angeles, CA – Despite attempting to conceal it, Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and top lieutenant Bryant Henley communicated with two former lawmakers representing a workers’ compensation insurer at the heart of a pay-to-play scandal, according to new evidence in a public records lawsuit brought by Consumer Watchdog. The communications occurred while a high-profile merger and other regulatory matters involving the insurer were pending before the California Department of Insurance.

Insurance Companies Overcharged Californians by $Billions During the Pandemic – Here’s How to Get it Back

Los Angeles, CA - Insurance companies have overcharged Californians by billions of dollars since the COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, sixteen months ago. Today, in a letter to California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, Consumer Watchdog proposed a plan to get that money back to consumers, and to require that insurance companies lower their rates to reflect the projected ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Assembly Insurance Committee Approves Bills to Let Insurers Raise Homeowners' Rates By Skirting Price-Gouging Protections

Sacramento, CA –  The Assembly Insurance Committee voted today to allow insurance companies to raise rates on homeowners and renters in violation of voter-approved Proposition 103.  The bills would force unjustified insurance rate hikes onhomeowners in the very communities devastated by wildfires that they purport to help, said Consumer Watchdog.

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara Sued for Failure to Provide Public Records of Dealings With Insurance Executives in Pay-to-Play Scandal

Los Angeles, CA -- A non-profit consumer group filed a lawsuit to compel California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and the Department of Insurance to hand over records of Lara’s meetings and communications with insurance companies that used campaign contributions in an apparent attempt to influence policy decisions.

Download the lawsuit here: https://www.consumerwatchdog.org/sites/default/files/2020-02/Petition%2…

California Fires Will Result In Higher Insurance Rates For Homeowners

By David Lazarus, LOS ANGELES TIMES

October 31, 2019

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2019-10-31/fire-insurance-david-…

Vida Hamadani was hit twice this week by the Getty fire. As a Brentwood resident, she was forced to evacuate from her house and move in with her son.

As an independent insurance broker, she’s been fielding calls from clients asking what’s going to happen to their rates.

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.

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.

Consumer Watchdog Asks Attorney General And DAs To Investigate CA Insurance Commissioner Over Apparently Illegal Payments For Second Home In Sacramento

Los Angeles, CA –  Following a Politico report that California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara billed the state for his Sacramento apartment, Consumer Watchdog has called on Attorney General Xavier Becerra and the District Attorneys for Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco counties to launch an investigation over the potential theft of public funds.

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.

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.

Farmers Insurance Is Caught Overcharging Its Most Loyal Customers in Violation of Proposition 103

Los Angeles, CA -- Farmers Insurance systematically overcharged its most loyal, longtime California customers from 2008 to 2018, according to evidence uncovered as part of an investigation ordered by the California Insurance Commissioner. Now, with a public hearing scheduled for June and facing millions of dollars in civil damages and penalties, Farmers and its affiliate, Mid-Century Insurance, are urging a Los Angeles Superior Court to stop the agency’s investigation.

California Insurance Commisioner Ricardo Lara Receives “D” Average on Report Card

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Los Angeles, CA – California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, who has approved $292 million in auto and homeowners’ insurance rate increases since being elected, has received a “D” average from the nonprofit group Consumer Watchdog on his first four-month report card.

Public Interest Groups Seek Nation’s First Rule Mandating Insurance Companies Disclose the Fossil Fuel Projects They Insure

Los Angeles, CA --- More than 60 environmental, consumer and social justice organizations petitioned California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today seeking first in the nation emergency regulations to require insurance companies to disclose the fossil fuel projects they insure, even as climate change-exacerbated catastrophes are costing insurance companies billions.

Top 10 US Insurance Companies Invest $51 Billion In Fossil Fuels

Los Angeles, CA — As a UN panel finds the world is losing the war with global warming and urgent action is needed, US insurance companies have reported holding more than $50.9 billion in fossil fuel investments that exacerbate climate change, according to reporting to national insurance regulators.

Consumer Watchdog’s review of public filings reveals nine of the 10 largest American insurance companies have considered the impact of climate change on their investments, but only two, AIG and Farmers, say that they have altered their investment strategy in response.

Consumer Watchdog To Insurance Companies: Stop Underwriting Fossil Fuel Projects That Exacerbate Fires And Hurricanes

San Francisco, CA – The nonprofit consumer group responsible for the most effective regulation of the insurance industry in America said today it would be challenging America’s insurance companies to join their European counterparts in refusing to underwrite coal and fossil fuel projects.

​​​​​​​US Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Mercury Insurance Challenge to Prop 103 Insurance Rules that Saved California Motorists Over $100 Billion

SANTA MONICA, CA - The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a challenge brought by Mercury Insurance, State Farm and other insurance companies across the United States to insurance reform Proposition 103. That California law has saved motorists over $100 billion since 1988 by regulating insurance companies to limit price gouging, profiteering, inflated executive salaries and other unjustified expenses. (Mercury Casualty Company v.