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SACRAMENTO, Calif.--California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner has ordered an audit of the State Compensation Insurance Fund, citing "serious questions" about its corporate governance and management, and demanded that SCIF make structural and operational changes.
The Wednesday move came amid a brewing scandal at the state's largest workers compensation insurer that led to last week's firing of SCIF President James C. Tudor and Vp Renee Koren, which SCIF attributed to results of an internal review (BI, March 26).
At a state Senate Banking, Finance and Insurance Committee hearing on Wednesday, Jeanne Cain, SCIF board chair, told legislators that the board's ongoing internal investigation will not be complete for another 90 days.
The investigation centers in part on millions of dollars in administrative fees SCIF paid to two of its former board members who resigned last fall amid conflict of interest concerns raised by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's office.
Mr. Poizner said Wednesday he will conduct his own audit of SCIF.
"This audit will be an independent, thorough, top-to-bottom examination of SCIF to include a review of matter relating to the recent dismissals, as well as all aspects of the organization and its governance," he said in a statement.
The insurance commissioner also issued strong structural and operational change directives to SCIF, giving it 14 days to respond or face formal regulatory action that could include a public hearing.
Mr. Poizner directed SCIF to address the following issues:
"In fact, many of his suggestions are things we are already working to implement. We look forward to working cooperatively with his office," she said.