20th Century Given Deadline


The state Insurance Department on Wednesday gave 20th Century Insurance Co. a Nov. 14 deadline to pay--in either a lump sum or the first of installments--the $120-million rebate it owes policyholders under Proposition 103, the 1988 rate-rollback initiative.

The action is part of the department’s effort to enforce the victory it won in August when the California Supreme Court unanimously rejected Woodland Hills-based 20th Century’s challenge to a 1991 order by Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi that implemented the Proposition 103 rebates.

The high court overturned a ruling by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs and sent the case back to her for final disposition. Meanwhile, 20th Century has asked Janavs to stay the California ruling until it can appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. Janavs has set a Nov. 10 hearing on the matter.

The Insurance Department’s “show cause order” Wednesday represents the first time it has spelled out exactly how much 20th Century must pay and on what timetable. The order gives the company the option of paying the full sum at once or $50 million now and the rest in three equal annual installments.


Twentieth Century Industries, the insurer’s parent company, announced Wednesday that Chief Operating Officer William L. Mellick will take on the additional title of president, a position vacated by James O. Curley, who resigned last week. Mellick, 53, had been executive vice president.