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Former California insurance commissioner dies at 94

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Former California Insurance Commissioner Wesley Kinder, 94, of La Habra, California, died on July 25.

A native of Iowa and a veteran, Mr. Kinder served as insurance commissioner from 1975 to 1980. He served as chief assistant California insurance commissioner under Gov. Ronald Reagan and commissioner under Gov. Jerry Brown. During his years as California commissioner he advanced reforms in auto, life, health, workers compensation, senior, medical malpractice, mortgage guaranty and title insurance.

Mr. Kinder was recognized nationally for his balanced approach to many sensitive insurance issues in auto and homeowner insurance and in reinsurance. He served on the executive committee of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners for six years and was elected president of the NAIC in 1980.

No stranger to controversy, Mr. Kinder drew the wrath of consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who, in 1979, labeled Mr. Kinder as “anticonsumer,” and asked that he be fired, according to news accounts.

Mr. Kinder held several positions in insurance and reinsurance at major insurance and reinsurance companies, including Fremont Reinsurance Co. and General Re, both prior to and after his time as a regulator.

He is survived by his daughter Kathy Kearney and her husband Tom, three siblings and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife Annette.