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Insurance Commissioner Lara on Governor’s May Budget Revision: "Bold leadership on multiple fronts to face mounting threats”

News: 2022 Press Release

For Release: May 13, 2022
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Insurance Commissioner Lara on Governor’s May Budget Revision: "Bold leadership on multiple fronts to face mounting threats”
Commissioner is doing his part to support State’s massive investments in wildfire safety and extreme heat, expansion of health care, and abortion freedom

LOS ANGELES — Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara today made the following statement about Governor Gavin Newsom's May Revision to his proposed FY 2022-23 state budget, which makes major new investments in health care and helping Californians prepare for the looming threats of climate change, including extreme wildfires and heat waves:

“Governor Newsom is making smart, strategic decisions to help Californians. His bold leadership on multiple fronts to face the mounting threats to our health and safety will protect millions of Californians in the years ahead by expanding access to health care — including reproductive health for those who need it and come to our state — and making us more resilient to wildfires, heat waves, and flooding.

“By expanding Health4All to cover all eligible Californians regardless of where they were born, we are one step closer to achieving a dream that a generation of brave and bold Californians has fought to achieve. Because abortion is healthcare, California's initiatives to guarantee reproductive freedom while increasing access to abortion care means that we will protect women’s health no matter what. Under Governor Newsom's budget plan, California will continue to be a haven for employers who support equality for their LGBTQ+ employees.  

“Working in concert with these massive investments in California's future are new wildfire safety regulations that I have proposed. These regulations would require market incentives from insurance companies to homeowners and businesses doing their part to protect their communities from climate change intensified wildfires. My coordinated action with Governor Newsom's administration to create the new Safer from Wildfires insurance framework will contribute to saving lives and homes — stretching our state budget dollars even farther. I will continue to use every tool available to support Governor Newsom's Extreme Heat Action Plan, including sponsoring Assembly Bill 2238 this year to rank heat waves and harnessing the power of nature for good through the ideas contained in my Climate Insurance report.

“I am looking forward to my continued work with the Governor and State Legislative leaders to help pass a budget that protects California consumers and our vulnerable communities.”

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Media Notes:

  • As a State Senator, Commissioner Lara authored Health4All Kids covering all children up to age 18, and introduced the first bills to cover all older adults.
  • In February, Commissioner Lara issued the Safer from Wildfires insurance framework together with CAL FIRE, CalOES, and other state emergency response and preparedness agencies in February 2022. This is the first time these agencies have come together to issue wildfire safety guidance for both individual properties and community-wide.
  • Also in February, Commissioner Lara introduced regulations that will require insurance companies to incorporate Safer from Wildfires into pricing for homes and businesses, while giving transparency about property-level wildfire risk scores. When implemented, which could be as soon as this summer, this will be a powerful financial incentive for wildfire safety.
  • Commissioner Lara is sponsoring legislation making California the first state to rank heat waves, creating an early warning system to help protect Californians from climate change-intensified heat-related deaths and injuries. AB 2238 (L. Rivas, C. Garcia, and E. Garcia) has been approved with bipartisan votes in policy committee hearings and is awaiting review by the Assembly Appropriations Committee. 
  • Commissioner Lara also authored SB 30 (Ch. 614, Stats. of 2018) which established a working group of environmental advocates, researchers, and insurance experts making recommendations for policies to reduce the costs from wildfires, extreme heat, and flooding. They released the first-ever report in 2021 titled “Protecting Communities, Preserving Nature, and Building Resiliency: How First-of-Its-Kind Climate Insurance Will Help Combat the Costs of Wildfires, Extreme Heat, and Floods.”

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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