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  Poizner's operation of Insurance Department a factor in California governor's race
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Last EditedPatrick  Jan 25, 2010 12:09pm
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MediaNewspaper - Sacramento Bee
News DateSunday, January 24, 2010 06:00:00 PM UTC0:0
DescriptionWhen Steve Poizner became the state's insurance commissioner in 2007, he brought with him years of engineering and business experience – but virtually no knowledge of insurance.

Poizner stepped up to the challenge like the engineer he is, immersing himself in the minutiae of one of the most complicated regulatory fields around, according to staff members and others who observed Poizner's tenure.

The former Silicon Valley CEO grilled his staff about insurance laws and toiled to master arcane details about rate formulas and legal mandates.

Yet Poizner also appeared to see the job principally as a warmup for his current campaign for the Republican nomination for governor, said Amy Bach, executive director of the consumer advocacy group United Policyholders. His interest in maintaining support from insurance companies made him more likely to negotiate with than to sue the firms he regulated, Bach said.

Even Poizner's critics, however, credit him with significant accomplishments, including winning more generous compensation for homeowners from the insurance giant AIG after the Sayre fire destroyed nearly 500 homes in the Sylmar neighborhood of Los Angeles in 2008.
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