State of CA seizes faltering LA-based insurance company

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State regulators have taken control of a Los Angeles-based business that thrived during legal segregation. KPCC’s Cheryl Devall says Golden State Mutual Life Insurance has faltered in recent years.

The black-owned company formed 84 years ago, when many longer-established insurers didn’t sell policies to African Americans.

Golden State Mutual tailored its products to groups that included pastors and their congregations. The company’s stewardship included the acquisition of a significant collection of African American art, long displayed at its West Adams Boulevard headquarters in Los Angeles.

Two years ago, an auction of those works signaled the decline of Golden State’s fortunes. California insurance regulators say the company has lost money for six years in a row. They have the authority to reorganize or liquidate it.

While prominent African Americans lamented the state’s action, company representatives have said little.

A message on Golden State’s website said that it will continue to accept payments from and pay claims to existing customers, but that it would stop writing new policies.