Garamendi, Poizner Take California Elections

November 8, 2006

In Tuesday’s election, former California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi won the election for lieutenant governor by a narrow margin of 49.5 percent to Republican Tom McClintock’s 44.9 percent, according to the Secretary of State.

In the race for insurance commissioner, Republican Steve Poizner beat Democrat Cruz Bustamante by a 50.6 percent to 38.9 percent margin.

New Insurance Commissioner Poizner will take office on Jan. 8. When he does, he will be presented with making decisions on several regulations proposed by outgoing Commissioner Garamendi, such as how insurance rates are approved and reviewed, the development of rating factors for private passenger auto insurance, prices for auto repairs and home underwriting.

“Poizner will be able to take a fresh look at the proposals,” said Sam Sorich, president of the Association of California Insurance Companies, the state affiliate of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of American (PCI).

“The hope is that Poizner will foster a more positive tone in commissioner’s office,” Sorich said. “We believe we are not adversaries, but partners, [and want to] create an environment that’s beneficial to consumers. We do hope that the relationships that insurers and the insurance commissioner has becomes less adversarial.”

In other California races, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was re-elected, as expected. And with Democrats taking a majority in the nation’s House, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D, of San Francisco, is expected to become the first woman and first Californian to serve as speaker of the House.

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