In California’s election races, incumbent Democrat Ricardo Lara defeated Republican challenger Robert Howell, a small business owner, in the race for insurance commissioner.
Lara won with 58% of the vote and 94.9% of the precincts reporting.
Howell ran with a promise to “serve as your personal watchdog guarding against waste, fraud, and abusively inflated premiums.”
Howell, who owns and operates a Silicon Valley electronics firm, also promised to work to help wildfire victims and homeowners who are finding it difficult to get coverage.
Lara was first elected during the 2018 election, defeating former insurance commissioner Steve Poizner.
Lara previously served in the state Assembly and the state Senate.
Lara’s relationship with the insurance industry has sometimes been contentious.
In October, he ordered nearly 50 auto insurers to provide detailed information about their claim costs during the pandemic in an effort to compensate consumers he says were overcharged as traffic dropped when California imposed the first U.S. coronavirus stay-home order.
He’s been visible in his calls for increasing insurer disclosures on fossil fuel investments.
Lara on a number of occasions has ordered insurers to preserve residential insurance coverage following wildfires.