Report: Redmer Favored as New MD Insurance Commissioner

May 20, 2003

A report in The Baltimore Sun indicates that Alfred W. Redmer Jr., currently a member of the Maryland Assembly and a sales executive with Benefit Mall, a health insurance provider, has the inside track to be named as the State’s next insurance commissioner by Republican Governor Robert L Ehrlich.

He would take over from the current Commissioner, Steven B. Larsen, whose five-year term expires at the end of the month. The post has become a more high profile position under Larsen’s leadership, as he’s taken positions strengthening the rights of consumers. His recent rejection of a proposal by CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, one of Maryland’s leading health insurers, to sell itself to California-based Well Point Health Networks, and to abandon its “non-profit” status has caused controversy. A recently passed Assembly bill would prohibit the company from doing so for the next five years.

Redmer’s position with Benefit Mall, a company which, according to the Sun does $300 million worth of business with CareFirst, is also likely to cause controversy. He has indicated that, if appointed to the post he would resign from his position, and would “divest himself of any insurance related holdings,” said the article. He has urged the Governor to sign the CareFirst bill, which he has threatened to veto, and has received high praise from his fellow legislators for his knowledge of the insurance industry and his fairness in handling insurance related legislation.

The Sun said that other candidates for the commissioner’s job included Gary Harriger, 63, an attorney with Funk & Bolton, a Baltimore law firm that has represented CareFirst; Kathleen A. Birrane, counsel for the insurance administration and the daughter of former commissioner Edward J. Birrane, and Martha Roach, who served as acting commissioner briefly in 1988, and was previously the executive director of the Maryland Association of Health Maintenance Organizations.

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