New Okla. Commissioner Vows Integrity

February 7, 2005

Kim Holland, who recently was sworn in as Oklahoma’s insurance commissioner, has promised to restore integrity to the office.

Gov. Brad Henry appointed Holland, 49, on Jan. 21 to replace Carroll Fisher, who resigned in September while facing possible removal from office after being impeached by the House.

“This is a new day at the Oklahoma Department of Insurance,” the Tulsa Democrat said after her swearing-in ceremony. “I plan to be an ambassador for this office, rather than one who shames this office.”

Holland has been executive vice president for Team Insurance Group, formerly the Quarles Group, for 20 years, and has worked in the insurance industry for 25 years. She had to resign from that job and surrender her insurance agent’s license because she cannot have a financial interest in the industry, insurance department spokesman David Meuser said.

Holland said she also had to resign from the board of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority to become insurance commissioner, a position that pays $94,000 a year.

She said she hopes to work with the state’s Medicaid agency to promote a recently announced premium assistance program for small businesses.

Holland said she also plans to travel around the state and meet with Oklahomans, from consumers to insurance agents, to reassure them that the department is handling business correctly.

“I can tell you that I have been very impressed with the caliber of the staff here and the work they have been doing under difficult circumstances,” Holland said.

Holland said it is difficult to measure how much damage the insurance department sustained from Fisher’s legal problems.

“I would expect that people are questioning the credibility of the office, and that is one of my highest priorities,” she said.

Fisher has been charged with embezzlement, operating a charity illegally, perjury, bribery and filing a false income tax return.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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