Consumer Watchdog Calls on Federal Insurance Office to Expose Financial, Climate Risks of Insurance Industry’s Fossil Fuel Underwriting After California Fails to Act

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog joined 39 other public interest organizations in comments calling on the Federal Insurance Office to spotlight how the insurance industry contributes to climate change by insuring fossil fuel projects. A 2019 petition on this topic to California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara was denied.
 

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 Insurance Commissioner’s Wildfire Working Group Embraces Insurance Industry Wish List at Expense of Consumers and Taxpayers

Los Angeles, CA -- A group convened by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to investigate insurance-related climate change solutions is recommending he let insurance companies insert secret models into ratemaking, a top deregulatory priority of the industry in California.  
 

Backers of Controversial California Homeowners Insurance Bill Like Its Momentum, Timing

By Don Jergler, INSURANCE JOURNAL

June 17, 2020

https://www.insurancejournal.com/news/west/2020/06/17/572626.htm

Backers of a controversial bill in California, which they say is designed to increase insurance coverage in high-risk wildfire areas by amending Proposition 103, believe it has the right timing and plenty of momentum to go all the way.

State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara Should Stop All Auto Insurance Rate Increases During Pandemic, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog today called on Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to suspend all increases in auto insurance rates through September 1, or the termination of shelter-in-place restrictions, whichever comes later.

Read the letter to the 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.

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…

Commissioner Lara Should Reject Job & Education-Based Insurance Discrimination, Says Consumer Watchdog

Los Angeles, CA – Consumer Watchdog said in a letter today that Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara should reject a proposed 5% auto insurance rate increase by Mercury Insurance Company that discriminates against lower income, less-educated drivers.

Reaction To New CA Insurance Department Rules To Limit Education & Occupation In Auto Insurance

Los Angeles, CA –  “A year ago, Consumer Watchdog and organizations representing consumers, low-income workers and communities of color petitioned Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara to ban the use of occupation and education to set auto insurance premiums. These unfair surcharges on lower-income and less-educated drivers drive up the cost of insurance for people who can least afford it.

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.

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.

Californians in High Fire Risk Areas Facing Increased Rates and Non-Renewals

Watchdog Says Insurance Commissioner Lara Is Not Doing Everything In His Power To Help Homeowners Dealing With Wildfire Insurance

Ricardo Lara’s Troubles Aside, Reverting To An Appointed Insurance Commissioner Would Hurt Consumers

Where the troubling trail of accusations dogging Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara will lead is hard to tell. State records show that insurance industry executives and their relatives gave tens of thousands of dollars to Lara’s campaign committee–even as he intervened on their behalf in cases before his agency. 

We’ll know more on Aug. 31. That’s when Lara has promised to make public his communications and calendars of meetings with the executives.

Advocates Call for Withdrawal of Insurance Commissioner Lara’s Bill to Give Insurers & Wall Street Blank Check From CA Taxpayers

Los Angeles, CA -- Consumer Watchdog said legislation sponsored by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and scheduled for a vote Wednesday would needlessly expose California taxpayers to the same kind of complex and risky financial instruments that led to the 2008 financial crisis.

The bill would allow the state to purchase insurance and other financial products with none of the usual state oversight, including insurance regulation by Commissioner Lara’s own Department of Insurance and procurement rules at the Department of General Services.

Ricardo Lara Wants To Give Insurance Companies Your Driving Data

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 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.

Ricardo Lara Puts Brakes On California's Climate Leadership

Los Angeles, CA — On Earth Day, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara chose “collaboration" with the insurance industry over urgent climate action. Commissioner Lara rejected a petition from 60 environmental, consumer and social justice groups that sought emergency rules to make insurers disclose the fossil fuel projects they insure. The Commissioner's refusal to act allows insurers to keep their complicity in global warming secret and puts the brakes on the forward momentum on climate built by the previous Department of Insurance, said Consumer Watchdog.

Insurance Companies Are Charging Drivers Without A College Degree More for Auto Insurance

Insurance Commissioner Promises Hearings – But Sets No Timeline To Stop Auto Insurance Discrimination

Statement of Consumer Watchdog: “Thirty days ago, Consumer Watchdog and ten other organizations petitioned Insurance Commissioner Riccardo Lara to stop insurance companies’ discrimination against low-income drivers and communities of color based on their education or occupation.