Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter and fellow Republican attorneys general in 11 other states want to stop an effort by a California regulator to get insurance companies operating in that state to divest from coal and disclose their fossil fuel investments. Hunter and the attorneys general — as well as one governor — sent a letter Monday to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones accusing him of trying to “publicly shame those who invest in American energy.” The letter threatens legal action if Jones doesn’t revise his policies.
What kind of financial stability can any insurance company have in California if at any point insurance officials can decide to retroactively decrease the prices they charged consumers? . . . But Rex Frazier, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of California in Sacramento, captured the significance here: “The Department of Insurance just reversed over 25 years of consistent legal interpretation, claiming new powers to order retroactive premium refunds with the stroke of a pen, no public debate and no explanation. If their authority to do this was that clear, why did it take a quarter of a century to find it? Their view of the law is wrong, and their suspicion of due process is worse. Even the IRS would think this is heavy-handed.” . . . Some argue it [Prop 103] ended up boosting insurance-industry profits by reducing competition. But that latter point doesn’t make the latest departmental edict anything other than what it is. It’s a taking, and a particularly troubling one because of the uncertainty it offers for the state’s insurance industry and for California businesses in general.
Financial services and insurance company Transamerica said Thursday that it will close its office in Los Angeles, cutting about 315 jobs.
Visa issued a statement Tuesday acknowledging “a variety” of job cuts, but offered no details on the size and scope. Several Visa employees and former employees tell the San Francisco Business Times that Visa recently cut 800 to 1,500 jobs, with the company’s former headquarters campus in Foster City especially hard hit.
Insurers say they are losing money on their ObamaCare plans at a rapid rate, and some have begun to talk about dropping out of the marketplaces altogether.
That means that regulators are not just setting ground rules for the insurance industry. They are determining the actual prices that are charged and paid. So when new regulations are approved, they often drive up the cost of doing business and drive down profitability. It creates pressure for insurers to come back to the department and seek rate hikes, distorts the insurance market, leads to fewer consumer choices and erodes the state’s business climate. It crushes competition, which is the real way to drive down rates for insurance and everything else.
“We’re very interested in the Dallas area for future growth and have signed a lease in the Westlake area that can accommodate up to 500 employees,” Schwab spokeswoman Sarah Bulgatz told the Dallas Business Journal.
The “Coffee Break” ring, which allegedly took in $500,000 in fraudulent insurance claims, was broken up, officials said, when an alert California Highway Patrol investigator noticed that too many people in Santa Clara County were spilling too much coffee.
Bank of America will close its longtime back-office operation in Rancho Cordova by Oct. 1, costing about 160 jobs.
Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger says San Francisco still has its appeal as the company’s headquarters city even though thousands of Schwab jobs have moved to lower-cost areas and hundreds more are being loaded into the moving van.
. . . Assemblyman Kevin McCarty, D-Sacramento, introduced Assembly Bill 1434, which would give Jones rate-setting authority over “preferred provider organization” plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
In practice, Proposition 103 prevents insurers from offering time-sensitive rate adjustments that allow consumers to realize the benefits of competition. This out-of-date and clumsy initiative also inhibits companies from creating and offering new insurance products, as is necessary for transportation network companies such as Uber and Lyft.
Wells Fargo’s stock-market cap hit $285.5 billion on Dec. 5, based on 5.19 billion shares outstanding as of Oct. 31, according to Bloomberg News.
San Francisco often comes up short when major companies decide where to locate their headquarters and it’s happened again: Union Bank’s parent is moving its headquarters to New York from San Francisco as it pursues its national banking ambitions.
Last week, the San Francisco Business Journal reported that Charles Schwab SCHW +0.34% is planning on moving “a significant number of San Francisco-based jobs” out of the state over the next three to five years. Charles Schwab’s San Francisco roots date back to its founding four decades ago, with the firm ranking as the 47th-largest employer in the Bay Area. The company employs almost 2,700 people in the region, and has a company-wide workforce of 13,600. Observers close to the situation blame the city’s extreme payroll tax and high cost of doing business in California as the reasons for the company’s exodus.