A U.S. District Court jury in Los Angeles has awarded $700 million in punitive damages but no actual damages in connection with the failure of Executive Life Insurance Company.[@@]

The defendant in the case is Artemis S.A., a French company that has been accused of violating old California restrictions on insurance company ownership when it acquired control of Executive Life, Los Angeles, back in 1991.

The plaintiff in the case is the California Department of Insurance.

California department lawyers are welcoming the award, but Artemis lawyers have noted that federal normally limits punitive damages to no more than 10 times the amount of the actual damages.

The California department says any damages it gets will go to compensate policyholders who lost money when Executive Life failed.