Why is Steve Poizner Right for Insurance Commissioner?
- Steve has the proven experience and leadership as Californians face urgent issues: under-insured homeowners exposed to an increasing number of wildfires and floods, ongoing premium increases in health insurance markets, and the growing economic threat of cyber-crime.
- Steve Poizner understands that healthy competition in the insurance marketplace reduces the cost of doing business, lowers rates and benefits consumers. As a successful business leader, Steve Poizner will work to increase rate competition and fight the insurance fraud that victimizes consumers.
- The California Insurance Commissioner is a regulator requiring fierce independence from insurance companies and partisan party politics. Steve has pledged to press the Legislature to make this office officially non-partisan, and will refuse insurance industry contributions to his campaign like he did during his first term.
Steve Poizner Accomplishments as Insurance Commissioner
- Recovered $30 million for wildfire victims who were shortchanged by insurance companies!
- Saved drivers and homeowners almost $2 billion in lower insurance rates!
- Saved taxpayers $17 million by streamlining and permanently cutting 13% of the budget of the DOI, without layoffs!
- Restored insurance for thousands of innocent consumers after health insurance companies illegally canceled policies!
- Arrested over 3000 people for insurance fraud, a record!
A highly-successful businessman/entrepreneur, Steve Poizner founded several technology companies. His company, SnapTrack, pioneered life-saving technology that integrated GPS receivers into cell phones. This technology is now the industry standard and can be found in more than 2 billion mobile phones around the world. Poizner sold SnapTrack to Qualcomm for $1 billion in 2000. Poizner also founded and served as chief executive officer of Strategic Mapping Inc., a company that assisted police departments, utilities, transportation companies, banks and retailers with selecting new locations and optimizing distribution logistics.
Steve Poizner was raised in Houston, Texas. He did his undergraduate work at the University of Texas where, based on academics and extracurricular leadership, he was named the Top Male Student in a student body of 40,000. Poizner was also recognized as one of the top 10 electrical engineering students in the nation. He moved to California in 1978 to attend Stanford University, where he earned a Master's Degree with Honors in Business Administration. In addition to his academic degrees, Poizner also earned a black belt in Shotokan karate, a contact-style martial art. In 2007, Poizner was presented the Distinguished Graduate Award by the University of Texas, School of Engineering.
Poizner has long been active in public service and civic affairs. In the 1980s, he played a key role in a civil rights battle that went all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The unanimous decision by the high court led to women being admitted as full and equal members of community service organizations such as the Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club.
From 2001-2002, Poizner was selected to be a White House Fellow, and served as the Director of Critical Infrastructure Protection in the National Security Council. Starting one week before the September 11, 2001 attacks, Poizner was responsible for issues such as emergency communications planning for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and protecting internet/banking system/power grids from cyber attacks. In 2006, Poizner was elected as a lifetime member in the Council on Foreign Relations.
Poizner is also a strong advocate for education reform. He was a co-founder of the California Charter Schools Association, the state's leading charter school organization. Since his involvement began, the number of charter schools in California has more than doubled. He also co-founded EdVoice, a statewide organization that advocates education reform and promotes issues such as charter schools, accountability and local control. Poizner has also served on the boards of several organizations committed to assisting disadvantaged children in K-12 public schools. In addition to his reform efforts, Poizner also spent a year "in the trenches" as a volunteer teacher at Mount Pleasant High School in East San Jose where he taught 12th grade government. Poizner’s book about his teaching experience, Mount Pleasant, was a New York Times best seller.
Steve Poizner was elected California Insurance Commissioner on November 7, 2006—one of only eight statewide elected positions in California. Poizner, described by California’s biggest newspapers as "independent", "a man of integrity", someone with "an impressive command of the issues", and having a "reformist bent", is the first Silicon Valley entrepreneur to be elected to statewide office in California.
As Insurance Commissioner, Poizner oversaw the California Department of Insurance (CDI), the largest consumer protection agency in the state. CDI has over 1,300 employees, a $150 million budget and regulates the worlds 4th largest insurance market. He is highly credited for overhauling the entire state agency by cutting operating expenses by nearly 15% while implementing one of the strongest consumer protection programs in the state’s history. Commissioner Poizner also received international praise for his terror financing probe and subsequent Iran divestment program that led to a global moratorium on investments in Iran by the insurance industry.
After leaving office in 2011, Steve went back to the private sector, once again starting a pioneering mobile education company called EmpoweredU, a platform that Universities in California and around the country utilized to put their curriculum 100% online. Steve sold EmpoweredU to Qualcomm in 2014. Also in 2014, after decades of success starting and running pioneering technology companies, Steve was inducted into the Silicon Valley Engineering Hall of Fame.
Steve is currently founder of a non-profit called Alliance For Southern California Innovation, working to create an innovation economy in Southern California on par with that of Silicon Valley. Joined by many high profile leaders from the world of venture capital and technology, Steve is at the forefront of a critical movement to better balance the California innovation economy and to create jobs all across the state.