California’s Poizner Wants Insurance Money Out of Iran

December 2, 2009

California’s Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner intends to ask insurance companies that are conducting business in the state to divest themselves of all financial holdings in Iran.

Poizner, who is running for governor in California, says a probe he conducted indicates that the total amount of insurance company holdings in Iran amounts to $12 billion.

According to an initial news report, Poizner intends to urge the companies to divest voluntarily. But, if they do not comply within 120 days he will seek to force them.

He would like support from other state insurance commissioners to apply the pressure on companies, and it appears some may join the effort, the report says.

The report says Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner is considering pushing for divestment, and Florida’s insurance commissioner said he is discussing the idea with other commissioners to see whether they think the idea is feasible.

Poizner intends to present his data and idea to the other commissioners at the quarterly meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which begins this weekend.

The insurance companies say they are concerned that a state-by-state approach might run counter to U.S. foreign policy.

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