News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: March 26, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner Announces That 460 Insurers Have Already Agreed To Forgo Future Investments In Iran-Related Companies
Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced today that 460 insurers have agreed in writing to a moratorium on future investments in 50 companies identified by the California Department of Insurance (CDI) to be doing business with the Iranian energy, nuclear and defense sectors.
"This level of participation in the moratorium signals tremendous progress in our initiative to ensure that California policyholder dollars are not put at risk through investments in companies doing business with the Iranian nuclear, defense and energy sectors," said Commissioner Poizner. "We already know that 1,000 out of the 1,300 insurance companies licensed in California have no investments in any of the 50 Iran-related companies. Now, more than one third of the insurance companies have pledged not to make new investments in those risky companies helping to prop up the Iranian regime. It's up to the other two thirds of the industry to do the right thing and agree to forgo future investments in Iran-related companies."
Insurers that have agreed to the moratorium include such well-known companies as Mercury Insurance, a prominent auto insurer; Zenith Insurance, a significant workers' compensation insurer; and Anthem Blue Cross, the largest insurer in the individual health insurance market in California.
On Feb. 10, Commissioner Poizner released a list of 50 companies doing business in the Iranian oil and natural gas, nuclear and defense sectors.
Two significant milestones in the CDI Iran Initiative will be reached next week. First, as of March 31, no investment held by an insurer in any company on the list will be recognized on that insurer's financial statements in California. Second, the Commissioner requested that all insurers licensed to do business in California agree to a moratorium on future investments in any of the companies on the list or in any affiliates owned 50 percent or more by those companies until either (a) Iran is removed from the United States State Department's list of state sponsors of terrorism or (b) a specified company and its affiliates cease to do business with Iran's oil and natural gas, nuclear, and defense sectors and is removed from the list. Commissioner Poizner initially asked insurers to respond to the moratorium request by March 12. At the request of the insurance industry, he extended that deadline to April 2.
CDI will release additional information regarding the insurance industry response to the request for an investment moratorium in the coming weeks along with other data on insurance industry investments in Iran.
Earlier this year, Commissioner Poizner announced that 100 percent of the 1,327 insurance companies licensed in California responded to his request to provide data on their investments with companies doing business with Iran's oil and natural gas, nuclear and defense sectors.
Commissioner Poizner first announced his Terror Financing Probe in June 2009 to review compliance with a recent California law that prohibits insurers from investing in designated state sponsors of terror. As part of a data call issued by the Commissioner, insurance companies were required to identify their direct investments in designated sectors of the Iranian economy and indirect investments in companies doing business in those sectors. In December 2009, the Department announced that insurers reported no direct investments in Iran and therefore are in full compliance with state law prohibiting those investments. But the Department uncovered billions of dollars of indirect investments in companies doing business with the Iranian oil and natural gas, nuclear and defense sectors.
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