Robert W. Hogeboom has been quietly creating and shaping insurance laws and regulations for decades – and has seen many changes in the California insurance landscape throughout that time.
During his 46-year legal career, he was at the forefront of problem solving and regulations at the California Department of Insurance.
Hogeboom devoted his practice to insurance regulatory, legislative and administrative affairs for the CDI. He dealt with more than 50 hearings involving CDI enforcement actions against insurers and manufacturers, including tariff hearings, market conduct actions and disciplinary proceedings.
Not only did he represent numerous insurers and manufacturer clients in regulatory and administrative matters, including market conduct claims and rating issues, he served as outside special advisor to a number of trade associations.
Hogeboom became a partner at Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP in 2014 as a result of the merger of Hinshaw and the Los Angeles-based company Barger & Wolen LLP.
That would be his last stop. Pasadena, 73, decided that early 2021 would be retirement begging.
A fitting departure for a long career was recently given to him by the board of directors of the Western Insurance Agents Association, which voted at its December 2020 meeting to make Hogeboom an honorary member, the first time since the group's founding in 1947 that one person has been so honored by the association.
“We are delighted to have Bob as our first-ever honorary member,” said Ken Lyon, WIAA & # 39; s President. "Bob & # 39; s help and assistance with insurance regulatory matters has been invaluable to the WIAA board and our members over the years. I wish him the best in retirement."
Hogeboom's official retirement date was December 31, 2020.
However, it could have been much later. The head of his law firm had asked him to go another five years. It was something he thought about, but during the pandemic, he called the home office in the summer and promised to work with partners who will eventually take his place until the end of the year.
"I think I was ready," said Hogeboom.
He grew up in Kansas City, Missouri. His family moved to Los Angeles when he was still in high school.
He then attended Stanford University and after graduation earned his J.D. from the California Western School of Law.
Around all that schooling, he took a year off to serve as an assistant to then-Governor Ronald Regan's campaign manager, a position Dick Barger helped him land. Barger, a former insurance commissioner and former chairman of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, was appointed by Reagan as California's insurance commissioner – at a time before commissioner office was an elected office.
Barger held that position from 1968 to 1972. Hogeboom developed a close relationship with Barger, who died in 2016 at the age of 87, and spent the first 38 years of his legal career at Barger & Wolen, and the last six years at Hinshaw. & Culbertson post-merger.
"We started with about 10 people," said Hogeboom.
Barger & Wolen focused exclusively on insurance and Hogeboom focused in his practice on regulatory issues and disputes. The company grew and continued its success.
“After 20 years, we've gotten nearly 90 people who only deal with insurance issues,” said Hogeboom.
During his career he was involved in several influential and high-profile cases. Some of the more famous legal issues he was a part of include:
- Globe Life and Accident ALJ Decision on Insurance Commissioner's Claims Regulations; OAH No. 2011-090887 (2012)
- ACIC v Poizner, 180 Cal.App. 4th 1029 (2009)
- American Liberty Bail Bonds v. Garamendi, 141 Cal.App. 4th 1044 (2006)
- Automatic Funding Group v. Garamendi, 114 Cal.App. 4th 846 (2003)
- National Elevator Services, Inc. against Dept. of Industrial Relations, 136 Cal. App. 3rd 131 (1982)
A major case he was involved in was a Supreme Court decision on January 23, 2017. This was an ACIC case in which both the higher and the courts of appeal ruled that an ordinance promulgated under the California Unfair Practices Act was invalid.
The appeals court stated that the California commissioner's regulations, which established factors that insurers should consider when determining total loss estimates for homeowners' insurance, was correct.
The Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Court of Appeals and took a contrary position, concluding that the Commissioner does indeed have wide-ranging powers to issue ordinances and to implement and administer the UIPA.
Hogeboom has seen and survived numerous changes in California's insurance regulatory history.
"Things really changed with the Department of Insurance when Prop. 103 came out in 1989," he said.
Prop. 103 passed by California voters requires pre-approval before insurance companies can introduce property / casualty insurance rates and make the post of commissioner a elected position among other sweeping changes.
At the time it passed, the CDI employed about 200 people.
“Within 10 years, the department had grown nearly 2,000 people,” said Hogeboom.
He said it also politicized the office of commissioner, changing the scope of things like tariff rules, community relations, consumer services and fraud issues.
"They were really politicians and it got harder in many ways at the Department of Insurance," he said. "Everything changed with the elected commissioner."
For him, the changes meant that three quarters of his efforts were spent working with the department to find solutions to problems.
“The other fourth was when we couldn't find a solution and we were dealing with an administrative court,” he said.
For the company as a whole, the changes had one positive effect, if people were to look hard for the positive side.
& # 39; It kept us busy, & # 39; said Hogeboom.