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Commissioner Lara Thanks Outgoing Leader of Diversity Task Force and Welcomes First LGBTQ+ Chair

News: 2021 Press Release

For Release: February 11, 2021
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Commissioner Lara Thanks Outgoing Leader of Diversity Task Force and Welcomes First LGBTQ+ Chair

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara thanked Sal Peinado, Jr., for serving as Chair of the Insurance Diversity Task Force at the California Department of Insurance and welcomed Mark Morales to the position. Morales is the first LGBTQ+ person to lead the Diversity Task Force, and he will lead the first quarterly meeting of the Task Force on March 11.

The Department’s nationally recognized Insurance Diversity Initiative focuses on accelerating the rate of progress and equity within the insurance industry by encouraging greater diverse representation among the boards of insurance companies and increasing procurement from diverse suppliers, including businesses owned by women, LGBTQ+ people, veterans, disabled veterans and historically underrepresented communities.

The Insurance Diversity Task Force identifies and recommends actions to the Commissioner that will advance the diversity and equity goals of the Insurance Diversity Initiative.

“The work of the Diversity Task Force remains even more critical during the pandemic that disproportionally continues to impact the lives and livelihoods of so many of our state’s diverse business owners,” said Commissioner Lara. “I thank Sal for the tremendous progress we have made under his leadership, and I look forward to working with Mark and the Task Force to build on that record of finding greater economic opportunities for diverse suppliers and seeing the diversity of our great state reflected in the boardrooms of California’s insurance companies.”

Task Force members are instrumental leaders and community advocates who work in tandem with the Department to ensure that the voices and needs of the diverse communities that they represent are brought to the forefront.

“The Task Force’s 2020-21 strategic plan will continue to serve as a road map for governing board and supplier diversity,” said outgoing Chair Sal Peinado, Jr., Supplier Diversity Program Lead at Autodesk. “From increasing access and opportunities at the Department’s Diversity Summit year after year, providing recommendations to enhance the insurance diversity surveys, and convening the industry’s inaugural Governing Board Diversity Summit, the Task Force’s accomplishments not only impacted California, but became a model for the entire nation. Insurers from across the country are investing in supplier diversity programs to ensure that business owners in underserved communities have an opportunity to grow their businesses that will, in turn, generate wealth and create jobs. Thank you to my fellow Task Force members for their guidance, support and friendship. It’s been an honor and privilege to serve as a Task Force member and Chair under Commissioner Lara’s leadership.”

Peinado, Jr. is succeeded by Mark Morales. Morales is Vice President of the Small Business Administration (SBA) loan division at City National Bank, specializing in SBA financing and loan programs for diverse owned businesses. Morales is also the co-owner of Charles Jacobsen, Inc. a certified LGBT business enterprise.

“I am excited and honored to lead as Chair of the Diversity Task Force,” said Morales. “Six years ago, I was appointed as the first LGBTQ+ representative and I witnessed the strides that the Task Force made, including expanding equitable opportunities and meaningful change for diverse business owners and board leaders all across California. The pandemic magnified the needs of our communities, and I look forward to meeting these challenges head on.”

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $371 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $469 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance website at Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.

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