News: 2010 Press Release
For Release: May 13, 2010
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Poizner Announces More Than 1000 Insurers Agree to Voluntary Sanctions Against Iranian Government
List of Insurers who Refuse Moratorium Revealed; $6 Billion in Current Holdings Disqualified from Insurer Financial Statements for Iran Ties
California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner today announced that 1,010 insurance companies - more than 75 percent of insurers licensed to do business in California -- have agreed to forgo future investments in 50 companies identified as doing business with Iran's nuclear, energy or defense sectors.
"This is a great victory for California consumers and sends a strong message to the regime in Iran," said Commissioner Poizner. "More than 1,000 insurance companies have done the right thing and agreed that not another dime of their investments will go towards propping up that oppressive regime."
As of March 31, 2010, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) disqualified an estimated $6 billion in holdings in the 50 Iran-related companies. This estimate is based on 2008 data, the most recent available information to be analyzed.
"With Tehran continuing its headlong rush to go nuclear, with Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad threatening genocide against Israel, with millions of Iranian people seeking to free themselves from the yoke of the Ayatollahs, it is outrageous that these companies have decided that it's business as usual and will continue to invest in companies that actively support the Iranian government," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "Commissioner Poizner should be commended for his leadership on this issue. All we have seen from the United Nations and the Obama administration and Congress is mostly talk. In California, we have real action and tangible results."
Insurer investment in the 50 companies on the CDI investment lists totaled $1.8 billion during 2008 and averaged approximately $1 billion per year from 2005-07. Given this record, the decision by more than 1,000 licensees to agree to the investment moratorium means hundreds of millions of investment dollars will likely be diverted from these companies in the coming years.
California has the 4th largest insurance market in the world - and as a whole, insurers are the largest investor group in the global economy, with an estimated $3 to $4 trillion in investments.
Commissioner Poizner also released a list of companies who would not agree to the moratorium. These insurance companies include MetLife, Safeco and Hartford. The complete list can be found by selecting this link.
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, nuclear, defense, and energy 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.
Please visit the Department of Insurance Web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Callers from out of state, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.
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