Calif. Insurance Commissioner-Elect Creates Advisory Team

December 6, 2002

Calif. Insurance Commissioner-Elect John Garamendi announced the creation of two advisory teams to assist him during his transition in formulating solutions to California’s pressing insurance issues. One team will be composed of insurance industry representatives. The other team will be composed of employers, labor union representatives and individuals who present and who provide services to consumers within the insurance system.

“There are many insurance problems that must be addressed immediately,” Garamendi said. “The first task I’ve given both teams is to address the workers’ compensation crisis in California. The extraordinary rate increases, the limited number of companies writing insurance, the financial weakness of certain companies and numerous related problems all add up to a major economic crisis in California.”

“On taking office in January I will be thrust into this crisis. I am seeking the advice of insurance companies, employers, representatives of employees, as well as individuals who provide services in many parts of the system,” Garamendi added.

Gary Hernandez, former Deputy Commissioner in Garamendi’s first term and now a San Francisco attorney in private practice will lead the insurance industry team. Richard Baum, former Chief Deputy Commissioner in Garamendi’s first term and head of is current transition team, will work with both teams in taking on the initial task of addressing the workers’ compensation issues.

The two teams will initially work independently to produce white papers that focus on a broad array of workers’ comp issues. Their work will be merged by the end of Jan. 2003.

“Given the limited time and complexity of the issues, I do not expect this to be the last word on the subject, but I hope that the teams can provide a roadmap of the issues and give me some clear directions, and concrete recommendations for the early moths of my administration,” Garamendi said.

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