Alioto-Pier has represented the city's second district, which includes the Marina, the Presidio and Pacific Heights, since her appointment by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004. She is considered one of the board's moderate members.
In her announcement, Alioto-Pier, a 41-year-old Democrat and granddaughter of former San Francisco Mayor Joseph Alioto, touted her work as supervisor protecting health services and disability rights. A skiing accident in 1981 left her unable to walk.
"Like too many Californians, I know from firsthand experience that the insurance industry can be overly expensive, needlessly complex and callously unresponsive," she said.
Alioto-Pier pledged to be "a strong, independent advocate" for California families if elected.
In addition to enforcing state insurance laws, the California Department of Insurance also focuses on consumer protection and fraud enforcement.
Current Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, a 52-year-old Republican, is running for governor in 2010.
Southern California Assemblyman Hector De La Torre, D-South Gate, and Assemblyman Dave Jones, D-Sacramento, are also campaigning for the insurance commissioner post.