CPA Seeks GOP Nod for Kansas Insurance Post

A certified public accountant from Leawood who’s also an insurance industry executive launched a campaign Wednesday for the Republican nomination for Kansas insurance commissioner.

Ken Selzer announced that he’s running for the regulatory position, and he’ll face at least two other candidates in the GOP primary in August 2014. The incumbent commissioner, Republican Sandy Praeger, is not expected to run again, having said last year that she’s very unlikely to seek a third, four-year term.

The 60-year-old Selzer is an executive managing director of Aon Benfield, a global company providing coverage for insurance companies against catastrophic claims. He’s also a former small business owner who noted that he grew up on a family farm outside of Goessel, in central Kansas, along the historic Chisholm Trail.

“I’ve got an extensive background in insurance and reinsurance,” he said during an interview. “I come from the heart of Kansas.”

Also running for the Republican nomination are Beverly Gossage, of Eudora, the director of a health insurance consulting company, and David Powell, an El Dorado insurance agent. Powell ran unsuccessfully for the Republican nomination for commissioner in 2002 and 2012, losing both times to Praeger.

No Democratic candidates have publicly announced plans to run.

Praeger became nationally known in industry and regulatory circles for her expertise on health insurance issues, but she riled some fellow Republicans with her limited praise for the federal health care overhaul in 2010 championed by President Barack Obama, a Democrat. She said the law provided a much-needed expansion of access to coverage for millions of Americans who were uninsured.

Selzer, like the other two Republican candidates to replace Praeger, is a critic of the federal health care law. He said he expects it to significantly increase health insurance costs for consumers.