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Insurance Commissioner Lara announces statewide board appointments to advance Department’s consumer protection mission

News: 2022 Press Release

For Release: March 23, 2022
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
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Insurance Commissioner Lara announces statewide board appointments to advance Department’s consumer protection mission

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today announced several new appointments to multiple statewide boards to advance the Commissioner’s and the Department of Insurance’s mission to protect California consumers.

These appointments include one new member to the California Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI) Task Force, one member to the California Earthquake Authority (CEA) Advisory Panel, three members to the California Insurance Guarantee Association (CIGA) Board of Governors, one member to the California Organized Investment Network (COIN) Advisory Board, five members to the Insurance Diversity Task Force, and one member to the Workers’ Compensation Insurance Rating Bureau (WCIRB) Governing Committee.

“Protecting consumers is our top priority. These statewide boards do critical work in guiding policies and processes to guard consumers’ health, recover from workplace injuries, and be resilient in the face of natural disasters,” said Commissioner Lara. “I am confident these appointees are ready to get to work and provide their advice and diverse perspectives to continuing building a healthy insurance industry in California that best serves consumers.”

Created by the Governor’s signing of AB 567 (Calderon, Chapter 746, Statutes of 2019), the LTCI Task Force, under Commissioner Lara’s leadership, is exploring how a statewide long-term care insurance program could be designed and implemented to expand the options for people who are interested in insuring themselves should they encounter functional or cognitive disability that requires long-term care, services, and supports.

The CEA provides earthquake insurance for California homeowners, condominium owners, mobile homeowners, and renters. The CEA Advisory Panel advises the Governing Board of the CEA on issues including basic insurance coverage issues, CEA's insurance rates, long-term sustainability and survivability of the CEA, and availability and affordability of earthquake coverage.

The CIGA Board of Governors oversees the guarantee association’s general operations and management in order to protect policyholders in the event of an insurance company insolvency. Established in 1969 by the Governor and California State Legislature, CIGA comprises all insurance companies admitted to sell homeowners, workers’ compensation, automobile, and other specified property and casualty lines of insurance in California.

The California Organized Investment Network (COIN) was established in 1996 within the Department of Insurance to guide insurers on making financially sound investments that yield environmental benefits throughout California and/or social benefits within the State’s underserved communities. Commissioner Lara has prioritized COIN investments which drive affordable housing, support small businesses, especially during this pandemic, combat climate change, and encourage investors to utilize diverse investment managers more. The COIN Advisory Board provides guidance to the Commissioner and the COIN program to meet its mission and chief priorities.

The Insurance Diversity Task Force oversees the Department’s Insurance Diversity Initiative, which encourages insurers to increase procurement contracts with diverse business owners, such as a woman-owned, veteran-/disabled veteran-owned, historically disadvantaged community-owned, or LGBTQ+-owned businesses, as well as advance diversity of insurance company corporate boards. The Task Force makes recommendations to the Insurance Commissioner regarding innovative ways to increase diversity within the insurance industry.

The WCIRB Governing Committee sets policy, oversees management of the affairs of the WCIRB, and oversees all issues involving pure premium rates, classifications, rating plans, rating systems, manual rules and policy, and endorsement forms. The WCIRB is a private organization licensed by the Department of Insurance for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and compiling rating data, with funding coming from assessments of its insurer members. All workers' compensation insurance companies in California are required by law to be members of the WCIRB.

The next meetings will be held on:

  • Thursday, April 21, 2022 - LTCI Task Force
  • By mid-Summer 2022 - CEA Advisory Panel
  • Tuesday, May 3, 2022 - CIGA Board of Governors
  • Thursday, April 14, 2022 - COIN Advisory Board
  • Wednesday, June 8, 2022 - Insurance Diversity Task Force
  • Wednesday, April 20, 2022 - WCIRB Governing Committee

More details are available at: These positions are uncompensated.

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Media Notes:

Newly appointed members include:


California Long Term Care Insurance Task Force:

Aron Alexander is Regional Vice President for Atria Senior Living, one of the largest senior living providers in North America, providing independent living, assisted living, and supportive living and memory care. Prior to Atria, Alexander worked for the Boys & Girls Clubs of America in the Director of Programs and Fundraising Director positions. She is a Certified Director of Assisted Living, Certified Administrator for Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFE), is a member of the California Assisted Living Association (CALA) as well as a former active member of the Chambers of Commerce and Rotary Clubs in Northern California. Alexander joins the California Long Term Care Insurance Task Force as a representative of residential care facilities for the elderly with no term limit.


CEA Advisory Panel:

Robert Sturm is Senior Vice President, Chief Litigation Officer for CSAA Insurance Group. Sturm is a longstanding licensed attorney and licensed insurance agent, with more than 14 years of direct insurance industry experience out of 29 total years of legal experience. He is responsible for all litigation practice groups, including Corporate, Employment, Insurance Defense/Internal Staff Counsel, Extra-Contractual/Coverage and Subrogation. Prior to CSAA, Sturm was Assistant General Counsel, Employment Law at JELD-WEN Windows & Doors. He is also an elected member of the Lafayette School District Governing Board. Sturm joins the CEA Advisory Panel in the insurance company representative seat with a term ending on March 23, 2026.


CIGA Board of Governors:

Jennifer Schnittjer is Vice President & Controller for the Automobile Club of Southern California. Schnittjer has over 20 years of experience in accounting and auditing and, in her current role, oversees the daily accounting operations including corporate accounting, corporate disbursements, corporate receivables, payroll, and financial reporting. Previously, she served as the company’s Vice President, Audit and, prior to that, was with Deloitte as an Audit Manager in the financial services industry. Schnittjer is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (CPAs) and the Institute of Internal Auditors. Schnittjer joins the CIGA Board of Governors as the representative of the Automobile Club of Southern California in a member insurer seat with a term ending on December 31, 2024.

Joyce Hall Mellinger is Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel for Zurich North America, where she leads a legal team providing counsel on complex business, legal, and regulatory issues related to insurance products and all aspects of insurance regulatory law, including agent/broker issues, contracts, and reinsurance. Mellinger has been active in supporting the guaranty fund community through her board service for over 20 years, including currently serving as Chair of the New Hampshire guaranty board, Vice Chair of the Illinois guaranty board, and member on Vermont’s guaranty board. She is also on the Board and Executive Committee of the National Conference of Insurance Guaranty Funds (NCIGF), a non-profit, member-funded association which provides national assistance and support to the property and casualty guaranty funds located in each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Mellinger has been reappointed to the CIGA Board of Governors as the representative for Zurich North America in a member insurer seat with a term ending on December 31, 2024.

Richard De La Mora is the Senior Vice President & Counsel, Head of Personal Lines and Strategy at Farmers Group, Inc., where he is responsible for legal and regulatory oversight of Farmers’ Personal Lines products throughout the United States. He also serves on the Farmers Enterprise Diversity & Inclusion Council and as Executive Sponsor of the SOMOS Employee Resource Group. Previously, he worked in private civil practice for Barger & Wolen LLP, a California insurance regulatory and litigation firm representing insurers and health care plans in regulatory and litigation matters including conservation and liquidation proceedings. De La Mora has been reappointed to the CIGA Board of Governors as the representative for Farmers Group in a member insurer seat with a term ending December 31, 2024.


COIN Advisory Board:

Debra Gore-Mann is the President & CEO of The Greenlining Institute. Gore-Mann has over 25+ years of leadership in nonprofit and private research universities and over ten years of private sector business development expertise having worked in investment banking, international infrastructure development, and engineering. She serves on multiple nonprofit and foundation boards that strive to serve communities whose works include criminal justice, youth life and educational opportunities, youth and young adults in sports, and economic opportunity. Gore-Mann joins the COIN Advisory Board as a representative with experience seeking investments for low-to-moderate-income or rural communities with a term ending on March 23, 2024.


Insurance Diversity Task Force:

Linda Akutagawa is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Leadership Education for Asian Pacifics, Inc. (LEAP) an organization through which she is committed to developing Asian and Pacific Islanders (API) leaders. Akutagawa actively advocates for diversity in leadership to achieve equity, inclusion and belonging for APIs and other diverse leaders. She is the Immediate Past Chair of the Alliance for Board Diversity, a national organization focused on advancing gender and ethnic/racial diversity on corporate boards, of which LEAP is a partner organization. In addition, she is a Board Member of the AAPI Equity Alliance (a co-founding organization of #StopAAPIHate), a member of the Asian/Asian American Institute Advisory Board at California State University at Los Angeles (CSULA) and a Board member of Japanese American Community Services (JACS). Akutagawa has been reappointed to the Task Force as an advocate/expert of governing board diversity with a term ending on March 23, 2024.

Imelda Alejandrino is the Chief Executive Officer and Creative Director of AP42 Integrated Marketing, where she has led the charge by forming a top-quality team driven by a successful combination of creative quality, strategic focus, and client services. Alejandrino also serves on the Leadership Forum as the Vice Chair of the Global Service Team for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). She is a marketing volunteer and contributor to WBEC-Pacific (WBENC regional partner), Women Who Lead, and the Western Regional Minority Supplier Development Council (WRMSDC), a regional partner of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) which advances business opportunities for certified minority business enterprises and connects them to corporate members. Alejandrino has been reappointed to the Task Force as an advocate/representative of minority business enterprises with a term ending March 23, 2024.

Annalisa Barrett is a Senior Advisor at KPMG Board Leadership Center, where she plays a key role in the development of research and thought leadership and advises directors on emerging trends in corporate governance. Prior to joining KPMG, Barrett was the CEO of Board Governance Research LLC, which provided independent research on corporate governance practices, board effectiveness, and composition. Barrett is also an Adjunct Lecturer of Finance at the University of San Diego School of Business, where she teaches graduate courses in Corporate Governance. Barrett has served on the board of the Corporate Directors Forum and is the San Diego Campaign Co-Chair for 2020 Women on Boards, a national organization focused on increasing the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to at least 20% by 2020. Barrett has been reappointed to the Task Force as an advocate/expert of governing board diversity with a term ending on March 23, 2024.

Jay Greene is an Attorney/CPA and owner of the Greene Estate, Probate, and Elder Law Firm. Greene also owns the Greene Law Firm, a certified LGBT business enterprise, where he specializes in supplier diversity law. Greene is a member of the Golden Gate Business Association (GGBA) which is the world’s first LGBT Chamber of Commerce, and also serves as a board member of the GGBA Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing educational opportunities for LGBT businesses. Greene has been reappointed to the Task Force as an advocate/representative of LGBT business enterprises with a term ending on March 23, 2024.

Cecil Plummer is the Chief Executive Officer and President of the Western Regional Minority Supplier Development Council. The Council works to create jobs and wealth for people of color by supporting and promoting minority owned businesses and connecting them with contract opportunities with Fortune 1000 companies and large public entities. Plummer has over 20 years of executive leadership experience and possesses a solid background in strategic sourcing, change management, performance and process improvement, supplier diversity, strategic planning, and risk management. Plummer has been reappointed to the Task Force as an advocate/representative of minority business enterprises with a term ending on March 23, 2024.


WCIRB Governing Committee:

Jeremy Smith has served as the Deputy Legislative Director of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California for the past 12 years. Prior to his current role, Smith worked as a Legislative Advocate at the California Labor Federation. He began his career in organized labor as the Legislative Director of the Illinois AFL-CIO in 2001 after staffing the Senate Labor and Employment Committee in the Illinois State Senate. Smith has been reappointed to the WCIRB Governing Committee in the organized labor representative seat with a term ending on March 23, 2024.

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 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.

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