In preparation for California’s upcoming Primary election, we are releasing a quick background on each of the Constitutional Officers and what they actually do in the California government.

Today, we are reviewing California’s Insurance Commissioner.

The Insurance Commissioner’s office was created by California Statute in 1868 during the creation of the Insurance Department. However, in 1988, voters approved Proposition 103, now Insurance Code Section 12906, which changed the position of Insurance Commissioner from an official appointed by the Governor to an official elected by California’s voters.

Dave Jones is California’s current Insurance Commissioner. He was first elected to the position on November 2, 2010 and subsequently re-elected November 4, 2014. Having served two terms in the office, he will be termed out at the end of this year.

The Insurance Commissioner, and his or her department, oversees several insurance industries  ranging from health insurance to property insurance and workers compensation. It is the responsibility of the Insurance Commission and his or her office to enforce the insurance laws of California. Further, the Insurance Commissioner’s office has authority over how insurers and licensees conduct their business in California. Some examples of these powers are that the Commissioner, and his or her office, licenses insurance providers, approves all rate or premium increases, investigates consumer complaints and allegations of fraud, analyzes insurance policy issues, and supervises the financial well-being of insurance companies.  The department also publishes a variety of information for consumers, including insurance news, guides and legal information.

The Insurance Commissioner has influence within the current policy debates in California, especially in healthcare, however said influence is not limited to the healthcare industry. In the beginning of May 2018, Commissioner Jones approved the first coverage to protect property owners leasing to the recently legalized recreational cannabis industry.

Molly Alcorn contributed to this post.