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League of Women Voters of California
Political Philosophy for Gary S. Mendoza
RESTORING COMPETENCE AND INTEGRITY TO THE INSURANCE COMMISSIONER'S OFFICE
The California Insurance Commissioner's office has a critical impact on California's economy - second only to the Governor of all the statewide offices. Insurance is the oil that keeps our economic engine running smoothly, affecting the performance of almost every sector of our economy. But there are serious and growing problems in the insurance industry that are severely hurting many of California's families and businesses.
The next Insurance Commissioner will play a significant role regarding these issues and, with billions of dollars at stake, he will significantly affect California consumers and businesses.
California's businesses and consumers cannot afford a return to the over-politicization and mismanagement of the Commissioner's office seen throughout the 1990's, particularly given the current challenges.
CRISIS IN THE WORKERS' COMPENSATION SYSTEM
If California was not already reeling from the affects of the energy crisis and the state's budget crisis, its growing workers' comp crisis would be generating more headlines! California businesses are burdened by exploding workers' comp premiums, with manufacturers and the technology sector particularly hard hit.
In addition, a number of workers' comp carriers have become insolvent and there is growing controversy over the financial stability of the State Fund. The Department of Insurance has failed to move aggressively to deal with potentially insolvent carriers, badly compounding the crisis.
This crisis requires bold new leadership from the Commissioner's office, and it will be a top priority of my administration.
DWINDLING INSURANCE AVAILABILITY -- AND THE IMPACT ON HOUSING
The market for homeowners insurance is tightening, with rates increasing and some companies declining to write new policies. It has become so bad that an increasing number of Californians are unable to purchase homes - a foundation of the American Dream.
In many parts of the state, builders cannot obtain coverage to build multi-family housing, while the population of California continues to increase, thus further aggravating California's housing shortage.
In addition, many businesses are experiencing increased difficulty in obtaining liability insurance and consumers are being hit with increases in auto insurance rates.
I am committed to strengthening the competitive market for insurance and increasing the number of companies competing for Californians' business.
RISING HEALTH CARE COSTS
Employers and families are burdened with dramatic increases in health care costs. More insurance products are falling under the jurisdiction of the Insurance Commissioner's office and the next Commissioner will play an important role in increasing access to affordable, quality health care.
My prior success as the state's HMO regulator have given me unique skills and perspective to tackle this issue.
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