California Insurance Commissioner Issues List of 296 Insurers Refusing to Agree Not to Invest in "Iran-Related" Companies

Earlier today, California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner issued a press release advising that more than 1000 insurers licensed to do business in California have agreed to a voluntary moratorium as to future investments in companies that do business in Iran. 

At the same time, Commissioner Poizner released a list of 296 insurers doing business in California that would not agree to the voluntary moratorium. The list of those 296 insurance companies is attached here, and the list of the 50 “Iran-related” companies, as found on the Department’s website, is also attached here.

Our blog previously reported on this issue after Commissioner Poizner first announced his Terror Financing Probe back in June 2009, and shortly thereafter issued a Data Call on July 2, 2009, to all insurers admitted in California seeking information on their investments in or related to Iran. As stated in the press release issued today:

100 percent of the 1,306 insurance companies licensed in California responded to his request to provide data on their investments with companies doing business with Iran’s, nuclear, defense, and energy sectors.

This has been a controversial issue in California over the past year, and it is unclear, now that this list of 296 has been generated, how far Commissioner Poizner, who is currently running for the Republican nomination for Governor, will pursue matters with respect to insurance companies that have refused to agree they will not make any future investments in companies that do business with Iran. 

Today’s press release provides no clue, other than to note that as of March 31, 2010, the California Department of Insurance “disqualified an estimated $6 billion in holdings in the 50 Iran-related companies” (based on 2008 data). 

Among the questions facing insurers are the following: 

  • Will the Department seek to have any future investments “disallowed” as part of an insurer’s surplus? 
  • Will the Department order insurers to dispose of such investments? 
  • Does the Department have any legal ability to take any further action? 

Barger & Wolen will continue to follow the Commissioner's activities on this matter.

For more information, please contact Larry Golub at (213) 614-7312 (lgolub@bargerwolen.com).

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