California Insurance Commissioner and CEO of Farmers Insurance Find Common Ground at Global Sustainable Insurance Summit

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California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and CEO of Farmers Insurance, Raul Vargas, discuss the state's insurance crisis at the Global Sustainable Insurance Summit in Los Angeles. The summit brings together insurance commissioners, government officials, industry representatives, nonprofits, and academics to address the challenges faced by California residents in obtaining affordable insurance.

From left, California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Raul Vargas, CEO of Farmers Insurance, speak during the Global Sustainable Insurance Summit at Hotel Indigo in downtown Los Angeles on April 10, 2024. to address California’s insurance crisis — told CalMatters this week that he feels like he is “in a forced marriage” with the insurance industry, and that “we’re staying together for the kids.

When Lara asked Farmers Insurance CEO Raul Vargas what it would take to get insurers to start writing policies in California again after they stopped or delayed new business, Vargas pointed to one of the regulations Lara“Insurers need the confidence to price correctly for the risk,” Vargas said, adding that Farmers has had “constructive conversations” with California’s Insurance Department that has allowed the company to remain in the state.

Some Farmers affiliates stopped writing insurance in California late last year, but Farmers spokesperson Luis Sahagun at the time said that other Farmers entities, which provide insurance to nearly all the companies’ customers in the state, were staying put. Lara expressed a similar sentiment about looking outside on Tuesday. He said his department needs to soak up others’ expertise as it deals with what he calls a pivotal moment. He also said this week’s gathering was “critical” and that he hopes the U.S. insurance industry comes away from the summit with new ideas.

 

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