Commissioner Lara Appoints Members to the Insurance Diversity Task Force and the CLHIGA Board of Directors
News: 2021 Press Release
LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today announced the newest members of the Insurance Diversity Task Force and the California Life and Health Insurance Guarantee Association’s (CLHIGA) Board of Directors.
“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Fabiola Cobarrubias, a remarkable leader in the field of corporate governance, to the Insurance Diversity Task Force,” said Commissioner Lara. “She will help us push forward our goals of increasing diverse board leadership and insurance investment in underserved communities in the face of an ongoing pandemic that is devastating our low-income workers and their families.”
The Insurance Diversity Task Force is part of the Department’s nationally recognized Insurance Diversity Initiative that focuses on accelerating the rate of progress and equity within the insurance industry by diversifying representation among the boards of insurance companies and increasing procurement from businesses owned by women, LGBTQ+ people, veterans, disabled veterans, and historically underrepresented communities. On January 1, 2020, the Task Force was formally codified in statute following Governor Gavin Newsom’s signing of Senate Bill 534, sponsored by Commissioner Lara and authored by Senator Steven Bradford (D-Gardena).
According to the latest California Insurance Diversity Survey data collected by the Department of Insurance – comprising the boards of over 250 insurance companies – diversity in the boardroom remains a critical issue. In 2019, board seats continue to be disproportionately represented by men, with an overwhelming 70% of seats occupied by men and only 15% of board seats occupied by directors from historically underrepresented communities. Meanwhile, fewer than 1% of board directors identified as LGBTQ+.
Commissioner Lara’s newest appointment to the CLHIGA Board of Directors is Sara Flocks, a policy advisor specializing in health care issues, to serve in one of two newly established public member seats.
“I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Sara Flocks to the CLHIGA Board of Directors,” said Commissioner Lara. “She will represent the public’s interest and push for the strongest safety net possible so Californians are protected from loss in the rare event that an insurer becomes insolvent.”
CLHIGA consists of all insurance companies licensed to sell life and health insurance, and annuities in California, and it protects certain policyholders against a company’s financial failure. The Board of Directors is responsible for the overall oversight of CLHIGA, which includes approving contracts and reinsurance treaties, authorizing assessments, borrowing money, taking legal actions, and serving on committees that oversee audit and investment functions. The Board consists of up to thirteen member insurers who are selected by the board members and are subject to the approval of the Commissioner. AB 1104, which was authored by former Assembly Majority Floor Leader Ian Calderon and signed by Governor Newsom in 2019, became law in January 2021, adding two additional members to the board who represent the public generally and are appointed directly by the Commissioner.
The first quarterly meeting of the Insurance Diversity Task Force will be held on Thursday, March 11, 2021 and the Annual Meeting of the CLHIGA Board of Directors is scheduled for Wednesday, April 28, 2021. More details are available at www.insurance.ca.gov/boards.
# # #
Newly appointed members include:
Dr. Fabiola Cobarrubias is the founder, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Inpatient Medical Group, an independent medical group that provides hospitalist and specialist services in the Bay Area. In addition to having chaired the Board of Directors of Brown and Toland Physicians, Dr. Cobarrubias is a Governance Fellow of the National Association of Corporate Directors and a member of the Latino Corporate Directors Association. She currently serves as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors and Governance Committee Chair for NORCAL Group, a national medical professional liability carrier. Dr. Cobarrubias joins the Task Force as an insurance industry representative with expertise in governing board diversity.
Sara Flocks is Partner at Union Made, LLC which represents unions operating on the international, national, statewide, and local level. Union Made also provides strategic advice to unions and advocacy organizations. Flocks specializes in health care, revenue and taxation, economic development, and transportation policy. Prior to Union Made, she spent over a decade as Policy Coordinator at the California Labor Federation. She was previously employed as a labor-policy specialist at the UC Berkeley Labor Center after starting her career with the United Farm Workers. Flocks joins the CLHIGA Board of Directors as a public member representative.
Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.