Around the PIA Western Alliance States

California — Climate Change & Insurers: Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara issued a new report and web page detailing insurance companiesinvestments in fossil fuels as part of his comprehensive effort to protect consumers from the impacts of climate change. The report is the most exhaustive study of fossil fuel investments by insurance companies ever done by any U.S. state. For the first time, the report identifies insurance company holdings in green bonds that support clean energy investments and other environmental projects, helping consumers and the California Department of Insurance measure insurance companiesprogress toward fighting climate change.

We need more climate-focused investments to solve our climate crisis, including from insurance companies that must do more to protect consumers and the environment,” said Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara. For the first time, we are disclosing fossil fuel investments while also measuring insurance companiescommitment to sustainability through their investments in green bonds. This report is part of my continued comprehensive strategy to address insurance companiesfossil fuel exposures and hold them accountable while letting consumers judge these companiesprogress on climate action for themselves.”

Californians can visit the Departments website and type in the name of their insurance company to find out what percentage of their premiums are invested in fossil fuels. For example, the new report shows insurance companies continue to be heavily invested in fossil fuels, including carbon-intensive tar sands, which is one of the most environmentally destructive forms of oil extraction. Although investments in green bonds doubled from 2018 to 2019, the portion of investments in green bonds is small compared with the overall investment potential of the insurance industry. The data comes from publicly disclosed 2018 and 2019 financial investment information, which was analyzed by S&P Global.

Insurance companies use investments to help pay claims, which is why disclosure of potentially risky investments is needed. While climate change is increasing threats to the public from wildfires, flooding, and heat waves, it also poses a potential significant risk to the value of insurance investments and the ability for insurance companies to meet their financial responsibilities, including policyholder claims, if they do not have sustainable strategies in place.

California is the nations largest insurance market and fourth largest insurance market in the world, and Commissioner Lara is working with other states to enhance climate disclosures at the national level. He led a bipartisan effort by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to adopt a new global standard for reporting insurance company climate risks on April 8 in alignment with the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures, or TCFD. Insurance regulators from France, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom currently require TCFD-aligned reports. U.S. financial regulators such as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are also taking steps toward requiring TCFD-aligned disclosures for other financial institutions.

While 28 insurance companies provided TCFD-compliant reports in 2021, this list will grow to nearly 400 insurance companies and groups — representing nearly 80 percent of the regulated U.S. insurance market — as a result of this action.

The Departments new website and report are one piece of a Sustainable Insurance Roadmap” that Commissioner Lara is finalizing with the United Nations that includes increasing green investments, sustainable insurance products, and nature-based solutions as the core of the strategy.

Commissioner Lara initiated the report in 2020, building on previous efforts of the Department and ongoing efforts at the federal level to increase climate disclosures for other financial institutions.

Since insurance is regulated by states, we regulators need to work together to protect consumers by reviewing insurance companiesexposure to climate risks and their progress towards sustainable investments,” said Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler, who has worked with California and other states on increasing climate disclosures. Efforts such as this one initiated by California Insurance Commissioner Lara can encourage insurers to help get us on the path to net-zero carbon emissions. Identifying both fossil fuel investments as well as investments in green bonds, which decarbonize insurer portfolios, is a sensible approach.”

Increased transparency around the holdings and climate risk exposure of institutional investors is a key first step to aligning the finance sector with net zero,” said Andrew Howell, Director of Investor Influence at Environmental Defense Fund. We welcome this analysis from the California Department of Insurance as insurers explore how best to leverage their financial influence to accelerate the energy transition.”

Investors globally are grappling with how to protect long-term investment portfolio value in light of the increasing risks posed by climate change,” said Carly Greenberg, CFA, Senior Relationship Manager for the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Regulators have an important role to play in encouraging data disclosures that help investors and the public assess climate risk and take action. We commend the California Department of Insurance for their ongoing work to encourage insurers to report data that helps with the assessment of climate risk and opportunities.”

Washington — Health care sharing ministries (R 2021-17) proposed rule posted

We have released updated proposed rule language on R 2021-17. The rulemaking is adopting new WACs to reduce confusion related to entitiesstatus as health care sharing ministries, increase transparency and codify all applicable rules related to health care sharing ministries in one location. 

We have scheduled a public hearing on the rule:

When:  May 26, 2022 at 2:00 p.m.

Where: Register for the public hearing via zoom.

Register for Zoom here:


Comments on the proposed rule language are due May 24, 2022; please send them to


For more information, including the proposed rule language (Supplemental CR-102), please visit the rule’s webpage. 


Washington — Updated E2SHB 1688 Consumer Notice


On March 31, 2022, Governor Inslee signed E2SHB 1688 (Chap. 263, Laws of 2022) and the law went into effect on that date.  Section 13 of the law directs OIC to develop standard template language for a notice of consumer rights that informs consumers of their balance billing protections under the BBPA and the NSA.


OIC has updated its E2SHB 1688 Consumer Notice to better align with statutory requirements.  Health plans subject to the BBPA, carriers, providers and facilities must use this notice beginning May 6, 2022.


Washington — Implementation of E2SHB 1477 and consolidated health care rulemaking (R 2021-16): We adopted the Implementation of E2SHB 1477 and Consolidated Health Care Rulemaking (R2021-16) on April 11, 2022. The rule takes effect on May 12, 2022. The Commissioner is adopting rules to implement E2SHB 1477 concerning access to next day appointments required in the legislation. This rule is also being used to consolidate rulemaking to ensure that rules related to recently enacted legislation that also amend WAC 284-170-280 are adopted by the OIC. These rules will facilitate implementation of recent laws by ensuring that all affected health care entities understand their rights and obligations.


For more information, including the adopted rule (CR-103) and the concise explanatory statement, please visit the rule’s webpage.

About PIA Western Alliance

The Professional Insurance Agents Western Alliance is a membership organization promoting and enhancing the success of independent agencies seeking to grow, learn and be heard within the industry.


More Industry News