SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Ricardo Lara took office as California Insurance Commissioner at a ceremony in Sacramento on Monday, January 7, pledging to help Californians recover from wildfires while defeating the threat of climate change. Commissioner Lara is the eighth Insurance Commissioner of California since voters created the position in 1988.
Commissioner Lara is the first openly LGBTQ+ person to be elected to statewide office in California. U.S. Judge Vaughn R. Walker administered the oath of office. Judge Walker wrote the decision in Perry v. Schwarzenegger in 2010, overturning Proposition 8 and allowing marriage equality in California.
“California’s Department of Insurance is the largest state consumer protection agency in America,” said Commissioner Lara. “We are the Department of Fair Deals, the Department of Fresh Starts, the Department of Rebuilding Your Home, the Department of Protecting your Investment, and the Department of the Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow. In short, we are the Department of Hope, and we have never been more important.”
He pledged to protect the victims of wildfires and other disasters, defend all Californians from the threat of climate change and insurance scams, and promote innovation and technology.
“Our seniors, people living in poverty, and immigrant communities are targets of con artists and scams. Our entrepreneurs face economic uncertainty. Millions of us live one emergency room visit away from financial ruin. We cannot deny that with climate change, California faces a threat like never before,” said Commissioner Lara. “
Commissioner Lara announced the creation of a Deputy Commissioner of Climate and Sustainability, a first for the department, to work with environmental and industry leaders on innovative solutions to the risk of climate change.
“To the insurance industry — I ask you to join me in this fight against extreme disasters linked to climate change. We need bold action to ensure our communities adapt and are resilient to this new reality,” said Commissioner Lara. “There is no other industry that has the necessary expertise to ensure that California is prepared to mitigate and reduce risk to our communities and environment. Our planet can’t wait. I am ready, and I hope you are too.” You can read the full release on the Department of Insurance Website Here.