Incumbent Commissioners Join Bush in Return to Office

November 3, 2004

Joining President Bush in returning to office, a handful of insurance commissioners across the country will be back for more time in office following Tuesday’s elections.

While most incumbents won rather handily, one chose not to seek re-election. Delaware’s Donna Lee Williams (See East News) chose not to return to office, opening the door for Democrat Matthew Denn to take over in The First State. Denn is a former member of the Governor’s staff.

Elsewhere, Montana’s John Morrison, North Carolina’s Jim Long, North Dakota’s Jim Poolman, and Washington’s Mike Kreidler will all be back. Long will be returning to office for a sixth term.

According to Joe Annotti, vice president of Public Affairs for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI), there were no major surprises on Tuesday.

‘I think Denn (Matthew) has an excellent background, certainly excellent legislative and public policy experience,” Annotti said. “The other commissioners (Kreidler, Morrison, Long, Poolman) are known entities and these are people we have excellent working relationships with. It certainly is not going to upset the balance of power.”

As for the commissioners and issues in their respective states, Annotti noted, “Washington is giving serious consideration to regulatory modernization, particularly flex-band rating. I think Commissioner Kreidler has moved a long way towards seeing the value of a more competitive environment for consumers in the state. Commissioner Poolman is an exceptionally strong supporter of a more modernized regulatory system. Commissioner Long has a very long tenure and we’ve been working with him well for over a decade now in North Carolina and hope to see some regulatory modernization moves there. We also work very well with Commissioner Morrison both in Montana and in his role in NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners). He’s very active on the debate over credit-based insurance scores. I think he has the best interests of the citizens of his state at heart and you can’t really ask for more from a commissioner.”

Asked about the breakdown of elected and appointed commissioners across the country, Annotti said that 38 are appointed and 12 are elected, but he has not seen any major movements to change some of those situations nationwide.

“From elected to appointed, I have not seen any major trends. I don’t see the elected states with any interest in moving to an appointed commissioner, nor do I see the appointed ones with any great push to make them elective,” Annotti said.

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