Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Robert Wooley issued a news release announcing his resignation as commissioner effective Feb. 15. Chief Deputy Commissioner Jim Donelon will take over the post.
Following is the statement released by Commissioner Wooley:
After careful consideration for my family, the employees of this Department and the voters who placed their confidence in me more than two years ago, I have decided to leave the Department of Insurance to pursue new opportunities in the private sector.
When I joined the Department in 1999 for what I figured would be a brief stint, I never imagined I would end up being Commissioner. I have always said “I am no politician,” which made my decision to run for this office then just as difficult as the decision is that I am making now.
When I took over as Commissioner, I knew I didn’t stand a chance of improving the regulatory climate without repairing the tarnished image of an office in which all public trust had been destroyed. Gradually, with the help of my chief deputy Jim Donelon and the entire Department of Insurance staff, we were able to restore confidence in our office, which helped us develop a more competitive market and increase the availability of property insurance.
By correcting the Department’s problems of the past and restoring its credibility, we were better prepared for the impending crisis of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. As the first state agency to reopen following the storms, our employees were able to meet the challenge when the number of monthly consumer telephone calls increased from approximately 6,000 to 20,000.
Only 4,800 formal storm-related consumer complaints have been filed with this Department at a time when the Louisiana insurance industry is faced with nearly one million storm-related property claims. Simply put, our employees have once again gone above and beyond just getting the job done. They have demonstrated they are proud to be a part of what this Department has become.
As I officially leave public service on February 15, 2006, I am confident that under the leadership of Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon our progress will go uninterrupted and the continued reform measures aimed at improving the insurance landscape in Louisiana will be implemented by the new administration.
I sincerely thank each and every employee of the Department of Insurance for working with me over the past five years to make our office a place the state can once again be proud of.
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