June 11, 1994 |
Standard & Poor's on Friday again lowered its rating of the claims-paying ability of 20th Century Industries' two insurance units, citing their earthquake-depleted surplus. Another major rating firm, A.M. Best, said it plans to take similar action Monday. A downgrade can hurt a company's sales or its ability to raise money from investors or lenders, but analysts were doubtful whether Friday's action will have much impact on 20th Century.
August 16, 1994 |
In an unusual proposal to bolster the capital of earthquake-ravaged 20th Century Industries' two insurance units, the state Insurance Department, 20th Century and two consumer advocacy groups have together endorsed a temporary 6% increase in the companies' auto insurance rates, effective Sept. 10.
March 18, 1994 |
20th Century Industries Inc., parent of 20th Century Insurance Co., on Thursday doubled its estimate of claims costs from the Northridge earthquake to $325 million, saying the damage was more severe and widespread than earlier believed. The Woodland Hills-based insurer has its greatest market share in the San Fernando Valley, where the destruction was heaviest, and thus may have been proportionately harder hit by the Jan. 17 quake than any other carrier.
December 1, 1992 |
Insurance industry lawyers on Monday accused Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi of exceeding his authority under Proposition 103 by trying to use the rate-rollback initiative to limit insurers to profit levels below those allowed low-risk public utilities. A lawyer for Garamendi countered that his rules for implementing the measure approved by voters four years ago would let the industry as a whole achieve the same 10% return on equity that it earned throughout the 1980s.
February 27, 1993 |
In a stunning setback for Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi, a Superior Court judge on Friday rejected his regulations for implementing Proposition 103, the sweeping insurance rate rollback initiative, ruling that they are unconstitutional. The decision, in a challenge by 20th Century Insurance Co. of Woodland Hills, means that the bulk of the rebates that consumers voted themselves in the 1988 initiative will be further delayed and may be far smaller than expected.
September 12, 1995 |
Not that he needs reminders of the Northridge earthquake, but every morning William Mellick, chief executive at 20th Century Industries, gets one as he walks into his Woodland Hills office. Quake repairs are still going on at the headquarters building; plywood covers windows, wires are run out of some windows and up to the roof, and yellow caution tape closes off walkways. But a green-colored building inspection tag on the front door reads, "No Apparent Structural Hazard."
June 10, 1994 |
In a move certain to shake up the Southern California insurance market, earthquake-battered 20th Century Insurance Co. said Thursday that it will stop selling earthquake policies immediately and phase out all homeowner coverage over the next two years. The big insurer's exit increases fears that consumers--especially in the Los Angeles Basin--will have trouble finding earthquake insurance.
May 2, 1990 |
An underground needle keeps popping corporate balloons at 20th Century Insurance Co. despite the company's best efforts to blunt it. For three years, workers have stashed copies of an underground newspaper, dubbed 20th Century RagTime, in elevators, on desks and even in lunchroom refrigerators at California's sixth-largest insurer. The two-page paper is packed with mock interviews, spoofs and jibes at what the editors consider stodgy management policies.
July 21, 1994 |
State insurance officials are investigating whether earthquake-battered 20th Century Insurance Co. is illegally canceling homeowners policies, leaving some customers unable to obtain replacement insurance. Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi said Wednesday that Woodland Hills-based 20th Century has canceled an unknown number of its 240,000 homeowners policies, some only days after agreeing last month to renew them for two more years.
September 9, 1994 |
Twentieth Century Industries raised its estimate of Northridge earthquake losses Thursday by a stunning $130 million--to $815 million--gouging a new hole in the insurance holding company's capital base and raising questions about its ability to survive without a major infusion of equity or even outright sale of the company. On Wall Street, surprised investors punished 20th Century's stock, driving it down 25%. The stock was by far the worst performer on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.