1998 California General Election
Candidate Statements
Insurance Commissioner
  • Oversees and directs all functions of the Department of Insurance.
  • Licenses, regulates and examines insurance companies.
  • Answers public questions and complaints regarding the insurance industry.
  • Enforces the laws of the California Insurance Code and adopts regulations to implement the laws.
Candidate Photo Barbara Bourdette
Natural Law
(619) 792-5573
Insurance can be affordable and cover the basic needs of all Californians. My 28 year involvement in preventive health programs has lead me to believe that affordable health care, with prevention as a core element, can improve health, reduce costs, and lower insurance rates. Millions of Californians currently favor this approach. I have been a corporate manager and a small business owner and this gives me an understanding of the necessity for low cost, no fraud insurance. I would be resolute in the enforcement of prop 103 and continue to monitor compliance. I would work to create auto insurance policies with lower limits, making it more affordable. Driving is a privilege, not a right, and auto insurance coverage should be a prerequisite before getting a driver's license. Homeowner's policies are still too high and although some progress has been made in providing Earthquake coverage, the limits are still too low and the rates too high. Cooperation between state agencies and private insurance companies would provide more reasonable and adequate coverage. Because I'll not accept PAC money for my campaign, I would remain completely impartial; not beholden to special interests. I would expand the fraud division and vigorously pursue consumer complaints.
E-Mail: ebourdette@aol.com
Candidate Photo Chuck Quackenbush
Republican
1801 I Street, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 449-2956
When I took office, I promised tougher enforcement, lower rates and greater competition in the insurance industry. Four years later, here are the facts: Enforcement is up! Auto insurance fraud arrests are up more than 50%. We have levied more than $29 million in fines against 56 different insurance companies, a 383% increase compared to the previous commissioner's entire term. We've also punished companies that ripped-off policyholders and returned more than $100 million to consumers sold useless insurance and worthless investments. Auto insurance rates are down! I've required insurance companies to rebate more than $765 million to consumers and increased competition, allowing more good companies to serve California. The number of uninsured motorists is down 30% since I took office, and I'm developing a low-cost auto insurance policy for Californians who need it. My Proposition 213 law is saving over $400 million every year by prohibiting drunk drivers and uninsured motorists from filing "pain and suffering" lawsuits. I've led a national effort to ensure that any insurance company that denied payment of claims to Holocaust victims will be held accountable. With your support, we'll keep enforcement up, rates down and increase competition throughout California.
Candidate Photo Merton D. Short
American Independent
P.O. Box 180
Durham, CA 95938
(530) 345-4224
I have become increasingly concerned that those we have elected as our servants have not upheld their sworn oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California. This needs to be brought under control particularly as related to our unconstitutional debt money and tax methods. As your insurance commissioner, I invite you to join me in regaining that control while fulfilling a fair relationship between the insurance companies and their customers.
E-Mail:
Web Site:
MertFly@aol.com
www.wordpr.com/aip
Candidate Photo Gary R. Ramos
Peace and Freedom
P.O. Box 911355
Commerce, CA 90040
(818) 830-2794, ext. #4
I was a United Automobile Workers (AFL-CIO) shop steward and union activist at the General Motors plants in South Gate and Van Nuys until the company downsized them out of existence. Now, I'm a private investigator licensed by the California Bureau of Security & Investigative Services. I regularly give investigative support to unions and to people fighting police abuse. As a private investigator, I have experience in all aspects of insurance related litigation issues, including vehicle/personal injury investigations, workers compensation, and business fraud investigation. I have hands on experience at combating insurance fraud and unethical practices by insurance companies, working for both plaintiffs and defendants. I'll halt Insurance Department attacks on motorcycle clubs which waste hundreds of thousands on useless prosecutions: one paid "Judas" received thousands of taxpayer dollars to entrap law-abiding motorcycle enthusiasts. The Insurance Department and local law enforcement instigated these prosecution efforts for political publicity. I support DMV non-profit auto insurance and California single-payer health insurance. I'll seek to criminalize insurance sales by non-admitted carriers in California, to make private investigator fees for combating insurance fraud fully recoverable in civil and administrative actions, and prohibit auto insurance premium rating based on anything other than driving record.
E-Mail:
Web Site:
harley64@aol.com
ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/janbtucker
Candidate Photo Diane Martinez
Democratic
P.O. Box 1386
Rosemead, CA 91770
(323) 721-8299
Voters established the Office of State Insurance Commissioner to protect consumers from skyrocketing insurance rates. I have a proven record fighting for consumers in both private industry and the State Assembly. I spent seven years in the private sector fighting the multi-billion dollar telecommunications industry to keep telephone rates down and to prevent billing fraud. As Chairperson of the Assembly Utilities and Commerce Committee, I have fought hard against California's big utility monopolies, earning a reputation as the legislature's toughest consumer advocate. I have been a leader in the fight to reform HMO's, to protect newborns and their mothers from being pushed out of the hospital too soon and to guarantee a patient the right to a second opinion. I have fought to protect the elderly who are abused and ripped off. And while millions of dollars in political contributions are donated by the insurance companies seeking favorable treatment from insurance regulators and legislators, my campaign for Insurance Commissioner is not being funded by the insurance companies or their lobbyists. I will be your Insurance Commissioner . . . not the Insurance Companies'. I will continue to lead the fight for California Consumers.
E-Mail:
Web Site:
campaigndm@aol.com
www.InsuranceCommissioner.com
Candidate Photo Dale F. Ogden
Libertarian
3620 Almeria Street
San Pedro, CA 90731-6410
(310) 547-1595
Since the passage of Proposition 103, California insurance regulation has been a national embarrassment. California's insurance laws and regulations have led to higher costs and shortages in many types of insurance. I strongly support the free market, where people make important decisions without government involvement. Though food is vital, there is no Grocery Department or Grocery Commissioner. Yet insurance, not as important, is regulated by an elected politician who uses the office to advance his career. My goal is to allow the free market to rule, giving consumers more choices and lower prices for auto, property, life, and health insurance. If unable to eliminate the insurance department (my preference), I will reduce its budget by $100 million (80%) to the level of ten years ago. I am an independent insurance consultant and actuary with professional credentials in property & casualty and life & health insurance. I have consulted with the federal government and the executive and legislative branches of several state governments to promote free market-oriented laws and regulations. I have the knowledge and independence, and more importantly, the desire, to do the job that needs to be done to restore competence and integrity to the Insurance Commissioner's Office.
E-Mail:
Web Site:
dfo@inreach.com
home.inreach.com/dfo/ogden98
The order of the candidates was determined by random alphabet drawing. Statements on this page were supplied by the candidates and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency. Submission of statements was voluntary. Candidates who did not submit statements could otherwise be qualified to appear on the ballot.