California trade groups and insurance regulators settle two Iran divestiture

California Insurance California insurance regulators and trade groups have come to a settlement over two suits regarding efforts that were being made to put pressure on insurance companies to stop their investments into organizations that took part in nuclear, defense, or energy-related work in Iran.

The announcement was first made at the end of Friday by Dave Jones, the Insurance Commissioner in California.

The lawsuits had to do with a controversial initiative started in 2009 by Steve Poizner, the previous California Insurance Commissioner, which threatened insurers with penalties and publication when they made investments into businesses that would provide the Iranian government with indirect benefit.

Iran has been labeled a government that sponsors terrorism, according to the U.S. State Department.

The California insurance industry challenged Poizner successfully, declaring the initiative against Iran to be a regulation that was “underground” and illegal. In return, the Office of Administrative Law, a state agency, was sued by Poizner.

In his announcement, Jones gave his applause to the settlement for permitting him to maintain and publish a list of insurers licensed in California and that invest in foreign-owned companies that do business with Iran.

According to Jones, this litigation’s resolution is a critical step ahead for the state to be able to ensure that investors, insurers, and the public all know which corporations are “doing business in the nuclear, military and energy sectors of Iran’s economy, particularly in light of the growing nuclear threat posed by Iran.”

The settlement of the lawsuits also permits the sharing of information by the Department of Insurance with the federal government.

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