California primary election 2022: Insurance commissioner race results

California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara speaks about farm insurance challenges, especially in light of wildfires, during a meeting with local farmers, ranchers and agricultural business owners in Santa Paula on Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021.

Incumbent California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara had a wide early edge against his eight challengers in Tuesday’s primary.

Lara, a Democrat, was elected in 2018, and in doing so became the state of California’s first openly gay statewide officeholder. The job pays about $174,843 a year.

CalMatters voters guide: More on the Insurance Commissioner’s race

With 5.7% of the precincts reporting, Lara had 39.1% of the vote, while Republican Greg Conlon had 17.4%, Republican Robert Howell had 16.5%, and Democrat Marc Levine had 16.0%.

Other challengers were trailing far behind:

  • Vinison Allen, 4.7%
  • Veronika Fibers, 1.9%
  • Jasper Jackson, 1.8%
  • Robert Molnar, 1.4%
  • Nathalie Hirzi, 1.3%

The pandemic brought about unique challenges for the insurance commissioner. With many Californians not driving as much, there were fewer accident claims and Lara directed auto insurance companies to refund some of those premiums. According to CalMatters.org, customers were refunded more than $2.4 billion, but the advocacy group Consumer Watchdog estimates that California drivers are still owed $5.5 billion more. In October, Lara asked some of the state’s largest auto insurers to provide detailed data on how they are going to pay back insurers or face legal action.

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