Ricardo Lara Insurance Commissioner California Department of Insurance
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Ricardo Lara is California’s 8th Insurance Commissioner since voters created the elected position and leader of the state’s largest consumer protection agency. He is one of California’s most effective environmental champions, pursuing policies that promote innovation and investment in clean air, embrace equity, and keep California at the forefront of confronting global climate change.
In 2019, Commissioner Lara and the United Nations Environment Program announced the nation’s first sustainable insurance roadmap to reduce the risk of climate change. The groundbreaking initiative will promote innovative risk management, insurance and investment solutions that reduce climate risks and protect natural ecosystems. Commissioner Lara also created a Climate and Sustainability Branch at the Department of Insurance with the country’s first deputy-level position focused on addressing risks exacerbated by climate change.
To confront damage caused by extreme wildfires and rising sea levels, Commissioner Lara authored Senate Bill 30, which will recommend innovative insurance mechanisms investing in natural infrastructure such as forests and wetlands. This is similar to examples from around the world where communities insure mangroves and coral reefs, protecting them from the ongoing impact of climate change.
Commissioner Lara’s short-lived climate pollutant reduction laws, authored when he served in the California Senate, are the only state-level super-pollutant policies in the country and foundational to California’s fight against climate change. Commissioner Lara’s clean truck and bus policies have strengthened regulations and focused investments to accelerate the transition away from diesel, leading to the single largest investment in clean air in California’s history – nearly $1 billion from the state’s cap-and-trade program to reduce diesel exhaust.
Commissioner Lara received the 2017 U.N. Climate and Clean Air Award with California Governor Jerry Brown for his groundbreaking work to create California’s short-lived climate pollutant strategy. He served as a legislative member of the California Air Resources Board and was part of the legislative delegation at the U.N. COP21 Paris (2015) and COP23 Bonn (2017) Climate Conferences.
About Commissioner Lara
Raised in East Los Angeles by immigrant parents, Commissioner Ricardo Lara made history in 2018 by becoming the first openly gay person elected to statewide office in California’s history. Commissioner Lara previously served in the California Legislature, representing Assembly District 50 from 2010 to 2012 and Senate District 33 from 2012 to 2018. Commissioner Lara earned a BA in Journalism and Spanish with a minor in Chicano Studies from San Diego State University.