Candidate for Insurance Commissioner, Assemblymember Marc Levine Introduces Legislation to Force Transparency from Insurance Industry On Their Big Oil Investments
Tuesday, January 25, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Los Angeles and Sacramento, CA)--Today, Adam McKay, director of the satirical film about climate change, Don’t Look Up, publicly called out California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara for his failure to lead on the climate crisis. In a tweet posted this morning, McKay said, “Insurance companies should have to disclose fossil fuel projects they insure. @ICRicardoLara failed to support this proposal in CA. Insurers that don't disclose shouldn't be able to cancel homeowner policyholders like me for ‘climate risk’.”
McKay’s tweet also shared a story by Sam Mellins in the Daily Poster, which ties Ricardo Lara’s campaign contributions from Big Oil to his failure to use his power to hold the industry accountable for its contribution to the climate crisis, specifically how Lara took thousands of dollars in contributions and gifts from the fossil fuel industry, and then rejected calls for insurers to publicly disclose their fossil fuel investments.
Meanwhile today, candidate for Insurance Commissioner, Assemblymember Marc Levine introduced legislation, AB 1694, to compel the very transparency from the insurance industry that Lara seems so hesitant to seek. AB 1694 will:
- Require insurance companies to disclose their investments in fossil fuel-related entities and the fossil fuel-related companies and projects it underwrites or otherwise insures. The California Department of Insurance would then publish that information on its website.
- Affirm the Commissioner’s authority to take regulatory action to prohibit or restrict fossil fuel-related investments and underwriting.
- Help California take the steps necessary to address the harmful link between insurance industry conduct and the climate crisis.
“We can be aggressive in the face of the climate crisis if our elected leaders have the courage,” said candidate for Insurance Commissioner, Assemblymember Marc Levine. “Transparency is the first and most important weapon in a financial regulator’s arsenal. Insurance companies want to raise rates due to climate risk, yet are investing and underwriting the very projects that exacerbate climate change. Ricardo Lara won’t hold the insurance companies he is responsible for regulating accountable, but when I’m Insurance Commissioner, I will.”
Levine has also committed to:
- Creating a Climate Change Task Force of scientific and financial experts empowered to investigate underwriting and investment practices of the industry, to ensure their bad decisions don’t result in worsening climate change or higher premiums.
- Preventing insurance companies from passing on investment losses to consumers in the form of higher insurance premiums.
- Taking a comprehensive approach to address the state’s wildfire insurance crisis, and fight back against industry attempts to use climate change as an excuse to raise homeowner insurance rates even further.
Marc Levine has been recognized as one of the top environmental champions in the state legislature. He was one of the first state legislators to call for an investigation into gasoline price gouging which has resulted in consumers paying a “hidden surcharge” amounting to an average fee of 20 cents a gallon. He helped place new restrictions on fracking and pushed to develop partnerships with other states to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He knows our future can’t depend on a Big Oil economy and neither can the insurance industry, much of which is heavily invested in fossil fuel. It’s time for the insurance industry to diversify its portfolio and commit to a clean energy future.