Dave Jones fights to keep his position as the state’s Insurance Commissioner
California is currently searching for a new Insurance Commissioner and the state’s incumbent, Dave Jones, is facing some serious opposition. Jones has become a regulatory powerhouse over the past few years, using his authority to hold the state’s insurance companies to a higher standard. Jones has won support for being an enthusiastic consumer advocate, but he has also made enemies within the insurance industry due to his aggressive stance on regulation.
More aggressive regulations could keep insurers in line
With four years as Insurance Commissioner behind him, Jones is seeking for more authority as he campaigns to keep his role. The Commissioner is petitioning for more authority over the health insurance sector. Currently, he has no power to approve or deny rate increases coming from health insurance companies, but he does have the power to regulate rates within the auto and property/casualty sectors. Jones notes that those in the health field have taken advantage of this, to some degree, by introducing significant rate increases over the past few years.
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Ted Gaines aims to reduce regulations placed on insurance companies
Jones’ primary competition comes from Ted Gaines, a state senator and a former independent insurance broker from Sacramento. Gaines is campaigning to ease the restrictions that are being placed on the insurance industry in order to introduce more competition into the state’s insurance market. More stringent regulations have lead to a decline in competition among insurers, which may actually be one of the primary reasons behind the rate hikes state residents have seen in recent years. Without competition, insurers have little incentive to keep the costs of their policies down.
Gaines intends to fight the federal government on health care reform, but will not be able to do so as Insurance Commissioner
Gaines considers himself to be “the ultimate consumer advocate,” claiming that he would use the office of Insurance Commissioner to oppose the federal government from playing a larger role in the health insurance sector. This is not actually something the Insurance Commissioner can do, however, as that is a matter that state lawmakers are meant to handle.