California’s new Insurance Commissioner, Ricardo Lara, is off to a shaky start.
Lara is not directly involved in setting workers’ comp policy or administering California’s workers’ comp system, but he does have authority over setting recommended workers’ comp rates.
And his office has oversight over some insurers and the policies they can sell.
Lara is a veteran California legislator, but appears to have stepped into a hornets’ nest after accepting campaign donations from individuals associated with Applied Underwriters, which was the subject of disputes being adjudicated at the DOI.
This has led to some bad headlines for Lara.
The August 4, 2019 San Francisco Chronicle devotes half an editorial page to a piece titled “Commissioner Under a Cloud”:
The Chronicle editorial concludes with the statement that “In just over half a year…..the commissioner has engendered a remarkable degree of distrust…”
The July 11, 2019 Los Angeles Times editorial is titled “Troubling Behavior From Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara”:
The July 30, 2019 San Diego Union-Tribune editorial is titled “Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara proving to be his own worst enemy”.
I’m sure there were many Californians who were happy to see a gay Hispanic man elevated to a major state office. Let’s hope that Lara learns from his rookie mistakes and rises above all ethical conflicts.