Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara should reject Allstate’s proposed $165 million auto insurance rate hike and its two-tiered job- and education-based discriminatory rating system, wrote Consumer Watchdog in a letter sent to the Commissioner today. The group called on the Commissioner to adopt regulations to require all insurance companies industrywide to rate Californians fairly, regardless of their job or education levels, as he promised to do nearly three years ago. Additionally, the group urged the Commissioner to notice a public hearing to determine the additional amounts Allstate owes its customers for premium overcharges during the COVID-19 pandemic, when most Californians were driving less.
Overall, the rate hike will impact over 900,000 Allstate policyholders, who face an average $167 annual premium increase.
Under Allstate’s proposed job-based rating plan, low-income workers such as custodians, construction workers, and grocery clerks will pay higher premiums than drivers in the company’s preferred “professional” occupations, including engineers with a college degree, who get an arbitrary 4% rate reduction.
Californians age 75 and older made up 53% of covid deaths through July in 2022, up from 46% in 2020 and 2021. Only about 6% of the state’s residents are 75 and older. And white Californians 75 and older outnumber Latinos in that age group about 3 to 1.
In the initial vaccination rollout, California prioritized seniors, first responders, and other essential workers, and for several months in 2021 older residents were much more likely to be vaccinated than younger Californians.
“Now, the vaccination rates have caught up pretty much with everybody except for kids, people under 18,” Brewer said. “You’re seeing it go back to what we saw before, which is that age remains the most important risk factor for death.”
CalPERS is up to its old crooked, value-destroying ways. Its sale of $6 billion in private equity positions, at a big discount….because CalPERS was in a hurry despite no basis for urgency, shows yet again the sort of thing the giant fund routinely does that puts it at the very bottom of financial returns for major public pension funds.
In Dawm Lim’s Bloomberg story, Calpers Unloads Record $6 Billion of Private Equity at Discount, CalPERS admits to cooking the books. Not recognizing the sale (the loss in value) in the same fiscal year can only be to play shenanigans with the rate of return. So if, or more likely when, CalPERS again does badly in comparison to CalSTRS and similar funds, remember it would be even worse if CalPERS was accounting honestly.
The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is now planning to formally define the term “diverse manager” and adjust their definition of “emerging manager.” Though the two categories overlap, they are not identical.
The term “emerging manager” is based on the following criteria, according to CalSTRS: “the amount of assets under management; fund lifecycle of funds; firm legal structure; non-employee ownership percentage; and other various factors including track record, private placement memorandum.”
The term “diverse manager” will refer exclusively to the diversity of the firm’s ownership. The term will be defined in a tiered way such that if a firm is 25% to 49% owned by women, ethnic minorities, and/or LGBTQ individuals, it will be labeled as “substantially diverse.” A firm would be labeled as “majority diverse” if it is more than 50% owned by women, ethnic minorities, and/or LGBTQ people. Ethnic minorities include all non-white groups listed on the census.
On Feb. 3, 2022, the state of California finally produced its audited financial statements for its fiscal year that ended June 30, 2020. The filing, known as an annual comprehensive financial report, was over a year late and came with an unpleasant surprise in the form of a qualified audit opinion.
State and local governments are normally expected to produce financial statements within six-to-nine months of the fiscal year’s end. California has now missed the nine-month municipal bond market filing deadline for three consecutive years. And, with less than two months to the deadline for its fiscal year 2021 financial reports (for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2021), another late filing seems inevitable.
California’s financial reporting performance compares poorly with most other states. According to data from Truth in Accounting, the median U.S. state produced its 2020 annual comprehensive financial report 184 days after the end of its fiscal year. By contrast, California took 583 days, nearly 20 months, to file its annual comprehensive financial report for fiscal year 2020. For added perspective, it is worth noting that the Securities and Exchange Commission gives large corporations just 60 days to produce their audited financials.
Insurance giants Chubb, Liberty Mutual, and AIG are three of the biggest insurers of fossil fuel infrastructure around the world. But thecompanieshave just announced plans to scale back their homeowner coverage in California, where they insist future climate-related losses will likely prevent them from turning a profit.
The coverage withdrawals may soon ignite a big money battle in the state’s legislature, pitting insurance giants against lawmakers trying to preserve coverage for their constituents. Meanwhile, climate campaigners are decrying what they say is a fundamental hypocrisy.
Last year, Chubb’s chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg said the company was reducing its coverage in parts of the state that were “both highly exposed, and even moderately exposed, to wildfire” because it was unable to obtain an “adequate price for the risk, and not by a small amount” due to both the costs of wildfires and California’s regulatory climate.
A main solution proposed by industry is that they be allowed to use “catastrophic modeling,” a method where rates are set based on predictions of future losses, rather than recorded past losses, as is currently the case. All other states allow the use of this technique in at least some cases.
In a video released online, Republican State Sen. Brian Jones used grains of rice to break down the projected budget surplus which, as of January, was estimated at $45.7 billion.
“If each grain of rice is $100,000, that means California’s $45 billion surplus is taxes over-collected by this much,” Jones explained as he shifted the large pile of rice around with his hand.
So what to do with all that money?
According to the state senator, the amount is enough to send every Californian a tax rebate of $1,125, or $4,500 for a family of four.
More stimulus checks are a possibility because the surplus is likely to exceed California’s constitutional limit as set by the voter-approved Proposition 4, or what’s more commonly known as the “Gann Limit“. That essentially restricts the amount of tax revenue the state can spend while giving lawmakers options on what to do with the leftover funds — including giving it back to taxpayers in the form of a rebate.
The city of San Diego will be offering retroactive defined benefit (DB) pension benefits to thousands of city employees who were previously only offered defined contribution (DC) plans.
The decision comes after the California Supreme Court overturned 2012’s Proposition B, a law that was passed after being voted on by the public. Proposition B shifted all city employees except police officers away from pensions to DC plans. The law was in effect from July 2012 through July 2021.
Proposition B was controversial and was ultimately deemed to have been illegally placed on the public ballot. The total amount of funds owed to city employees will be approximately $73 million in retroactive pension accruements. The payments will go to approximately 3,850 workers who began working for the city after July 2012.
California’s climate-conscious policies aren’t matched by the investment choices of its largest public pension funds, according to a report from two environmental groups.
Of the 14 top U.S. pension funds analyzed by Stand.earth and Climate Safe Pensions Network, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, known as Calpers, and California State Teachers’ Retirement System, known as CalSTRS, were the largest investors in fossil fuel companies, with $27.1 billion and $15.7 billion, respectively, according to findings published Wednesday.
The two combined hold about half the fossil fuel assets for the entire group, according to the study. Calpers also came first in fossil fuel holdings as a proportion of its total assets under management, at 6.9%.
The New York State Teachers’ Retirement System had the second-largest share of its portfolio invested in fossil fuels, at 6.6%.
When CalPERS does something as obviously nonsensical as planning to dump $6 billion of its private equity holdings, nearly 13% of its $47.7 billon portfolio, when it just committed to increasing its private equity book from 8% to 13%, it’s a hard call: Incompetent? Corrupt? Addled by the latest fads (a subset of incompetent)?
And rest assured, the harder you look, the more it becomes apparent that this scheme is as hare-brained as it appears at the 30,000 foot level. But unlike another recent hare-brained private equity scheme, its “private equity new business model,” beneficiaries won’t have the good luck of having it collapse under its own contradictions. CalPERS has loudly announced that Jeffries & Co. will be handling these dispositions, so they will get done….at least in part. But the fact that CalPERS’ staff has gone ahead and merely informed the board, as opposed to getting its approval, is yet another proof of how the board has abdicated its oversight and control by granting unconscionably permissive “delegated authority” to staff.
The one bit of possible upside would not just be unintended, but the result of CalPERS acting in contradiction to its expressed objectives: that its allocation to private equity would undershoot its targets by an even bigger margin than otherwise.