California Insurance Commissioner’s Race A Major Issue for Residents

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  • Millions of Californians have a huge stake in the upcoming election, as they will be faced with a choice that could have a huge impact on their monthly insurance bills for years to come. The race for the state’s insurance commissioner seat is one that has, to this point, been hotly contested, and appears as if it might go down to the wire. When the election results come in, though, it might be wise for insurance agents in the Golden State to start making calls to their clients and explain the ways in which they might see their plans change as a result of whoever wins the race.

    The race for the position this year is being run between Democrat and incumbent Dave Jones, who has been insurance commissioner since 2011, and Republican State Sen. Ted Gaines, according to a report from Sacramento television station KCRA. And while both agree that protecting consumers from high insurance prices should be their No. 1 job as commissioner, the ways in which they would do so if elected vary widely.

    What’s the difference?
    Where Gaines and Jones seem to differ most is on what would lead to more consumer protection, the report said. Where Jones seems to want more governmental control over the insurance industry – including supporting the passage of the state’s Proposition 45, which grants broader regulatory powers for health insurance to that office – it seems Gaines would prefer to let the free market help keep costs down. One issue where both agree, however, is that home insurers need to do more in the state to help consumers find coverage. Many major companies don’t offer home policies in California for various reasons, and Gaines and Jones alike would prefer to see more get into the market as a means of increasing competition and potential savings for residents.

    Insurance agents who can do as much as possible to explain to consumers about the changes that they might face on their various home and auto insurance policies, for any reason, are likely to be the ones with the highest customer satisfaction ratings. That’s because polls show these issues often supersede even those related to cost in terms of keeping customers happy with their coverage. For that reason, agents who can both keep up strong relationships with their customers while also doing more to help them find an occasional discount might therefore have the highest retention rates as well.