The Associated Press is reporting that insurance companies that do business in California are being asked to withdraw any of their finances currently invested in Iran. A probe conducted by California’s Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has revealed that insurance companies in the state have $12 billion invested in Iran.
Poizner has said that he is currently asking insurance companies to voluntarily divest their funds from the Islamic Republic; however, if companies do not heed his request within 120 days, then Poizner will seek a court order requiring divestment.
According the report, Poizner is looking for support from insurance commissioners in other states. Insurance companies have argued against a piecemeal approach to divestment, and suggest that such an approach will disrupt the foreign policy plans of the federal government. However, it appears that a state-by-state divestment may be already underway, since,

Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, secretary-treasurer of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, said he is consulting other states’ commissioners to see if it is practical to develop a national effort similar to California’s.
“We ought to do it through the states, but in a coordinated fashion,” said Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario, who also is considering a divestment push.

The probe conducted by Poizner did not discover direct investments in Iran’s financial sector by any of the insurance companies, and the $12 billion in investments are through indirect means.

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