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Corporate Forms and Organizational Choice in International Insurance$
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Robin Pearson and Takau Yoneyama

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739005

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739005.001.0001

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An Attempt by a Black Mutual Life Insurance Company to Demutualize

An Attempt by a Black Mutual Life Insurance Company to Demutualize

The Case of Golden State Mutual of Los Angeles

Chapter:
(p.263) 12 An Attempt by a Black Mutual Life Insurance Company to Demutualize
Source:
Corporate Forms and Organizational Choice in International Insurance
Author(s):

Natsuki Kinoshita

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739005.003.0012

This chapter explores the decision-making process of a racially constituted mutual life insurance company in the United States as it attempted to demutualize in the 1960s. It examines the experience of the Golden State Mutual Life, the only black mutual insurer in the American West, to throw a light on four factors—the market, the local community, political issues, and firm-specific matters—that influenced its decision making. The chapter shows that the business strategy of the company was shaped by a complex set of factors that were influenced by the changing socio-economic environment for African Americans. Demutualization was aborted in the end, indicating that a racially based insurance company could not easily escape from its mutual roots in a racial community, even when the decision not to convert might impede the company’s future growth prospects.

Keywords:   demutualization, racial insurance company, African-American business history, Los Angeles black community

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