Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, October 4, 2016


Page 3



California Public Officials Issue Statements in Press Releases


State Attorney General Kamala Harris issued the following statement in response to yesterday’s announcement that the U.S. Supreme Court denied the United States’ petition for a rehearing in U.S. v. Texas, the case challenging President Obama’s immigration executive actions:

I am disappointed that the Supreme Court has refused to rehear U.S. v. Texas, keeping President Obama’s common-sense immigration executive actions on hold indefinitely.  Millions of hard working immigrants—members of our communities who contribute to our economy—continue to face the threat of being torn from their families, exploited in the workplace, and demonized in our society.  Continued inaction from Congress and the Court undermines not only our core values of fairness and compassion, but also our nation’s economic prosperity and public safety.

Treasurer John Chiang declared, in reaction to Illinois’s treasurer announcing sanctions against Wells Fargo:

California stands united with Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs’ decision to suspend investment activity with Wells Fargo Bank.

From the savings and loan scandal of the 1980s to the subprime lending abuses which recently brought down the world economy, we have suffered from the incredible power banks hold over everyday Americans. Wells Fargo is just the most recent example of the craven abuses that can be perpetrated when a financial institution comes to serve itself rather than its customers. 

But banks are not so powerful as to be untouchable. Until Congress and bank regulators pass sensible reforms to curtail the further fleecing of consumers, bank customers – like the states of California and Illinois – will have to fill the leadership void. And, the best way to do so is to hit Wells Fargo where it hurts – in the pocketbook.  

While sanctions may vary depending on each entity’s unique needs and legal authority, states and municipalities can be pivotal change agents when they remind Wells Fargo who pays their bills and, more importantly, their bonuses. Together, we can move the needle toward ending fraudulent practices which hurt the public we serve.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones provided this assessment of the Department of Motor Vehicles proposed regulations on driverless cars:

California embraces new technology and innovations, like autonomous vehicles, but we also need to make sure that new technologies, products and services are safe and consumers are protected. The new DMV regulations strike the right balance. AV manufacturers will need to maintain $5 million in insurance and the owner or lessee of each car will be required to meet the same insurance coverage required of every other car on the road.  As the insurance regulator, we will continue to work with the insurance industry to make sure that they will address the change toward more automation while continuing to provide coverage that protects consumers.

Jones also issued this statement, Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued the following statement regarding Kemper’s Corporation’s announcement that it is beginning to search for beneficiaries of life insurance proceeds:

Kemper’s announcement that they are ‘voluntarily undertaking a comprehensive process under which it will cross-reference its life insurance policies against the Social Security Death Master File and other databases to identify beneficiaries that may not have filed a claim following a loved one’s death is too little too late and falls woefully short of Kemper’s legal obligation to identify potential beneficiaries that may be unaware they are due life insurance benefits.

Kemper cites new technology and resources that make the searches for current policies possible, but the reality is the technology has existed for decades and Kemper continues to fight conducting retrospective searches for beneficiaries. Rather than having sought consensus in the regulatory community, Kemper has sued several insurance commissioners leading a national investigation of Kemper and lobbied in state legislatures to block the passage of new laws, which reiterate the obligations of life insurers to use the Death Master File (DMF) to search for beneficiaries of deceased life insurance policyholders.

Twenty-four other major life insurers have agreed to do the right thing by searching for possible beneficiaries on all existing policies and policies that lapsed due to non-payment because the insured was already deceased. Three other insurers were determined to be in compliance with fair claims settlement laws by searching the DMF for deceased policyholders from the moment they began to use the DMF. These insurers have done the right thing and delivered on the promises they made to their policyholders to be there for the loved ones named on life insurance policies.

Contrary to the other 27 major insurers, Kemper has fought at every turn its obligation to use the Death Master File to search for beneficiaries. Kemper needs to step up and do the right thing. They should cease to litigate this issue, agree to search all of their policy records, and disclose their procedures and records to regulators.”  


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