The State of Florida is in the process of replacing the current Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty. As this blog has outlined in prior posts, McCarty has been a fair and effective commissioner under very difficult circumstances. His departure will be a loss for Florida’s insurance consumers.
A few weeks ago, applications for the post were due.1 Shortly thereafter, the Governor and Cabinet began interviewing certain applicants. After those interviews, it became apparent that two individuals were the leading contenders—Rep. Bill Hager and Jeffrey Bragg. There were concerns with each of these applicants.
As outlined by the Palm Beach Post in, Insurance commissioner candidate misled investors, suit said, Bragg was accused in a lawsuit of signing misleading documents in a flood insurance venture that harmed investors to the tune of tens of millions of dollars. As outlined by Politico Florida in Leading insurance commissioner candidate solicited industry for business, Hager often sides on the side of the insurance industry and has been seeking to do business with the same companies he may soon regulate. These two individuals were interviewed at the Cabinet meeting earlier this week, as outlined in the Business section of the Palm Beach Post.
Luckily, neither was selected. That does not mean these two were rejected, but the process was reopened. Chip Merlin summed it up well: “Policyholders should breathe a short sigh of relief today, and then demand the new search include candidates willing to put consumers, not the insurance industry, first.” Here’s to hoping that the reopened search produces a candidate who will be worthy to follow Kevin McCarty.
1 For background on all of the applicants, see: Peter Schorsch, The Good, the Bad and the Interesting: Evaluating the applicants for Florida insurance commissioner, SaintPetersBlog, March 16, 2016. (Last viewed 3/30/16 at http://saintpetersblog.com/good-bad-interesting-applicants-new-oir-commissioner/)