Key State Insurance Official Resigns

December 27, 2007

A top official charged with recruiting insurance companies to Louisiana and helping turn around the troubled state insurer of last resort is leaving his post with the Insurance Department.

Bill Newton, a retired insurance executive, became the chief deputy insurance commissioner in April. Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon said Newton has agreed to stay on through January and has recommended possible replacements. Donelon hopes to name a successor to Newton “as soon as possible.”

He said Newton told him the job was more than he’d wanted at this point in his life.

Newton replaced Chad Brown as chairman of Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. and has worked closely with state-sponsored insurer of last resort’s new chief executive in an effort to help turn the operation around.

Newton told The Associated Press Tuesday that his decision should have been “reasonably expected” by Donelon. He said he had grown tired of the commute between his home in St. Tammany Parish and Baton Rouge and was ready to return to retired life. Newton also said he was grateful for the chance to do the work he did.

“I have enjoyed my service immensely, and I think working with the commissioner has been a fantastic opportunity to make a small contribution to helping bring more insurance companies to the state and to help with the Citizens turnaround,” he said.

Newton also has promoted Louisiana at insurance industry conferences nationwide and shown executives around the state. Donelon said Newton has been “most valuable” in recruiting companies to the market.

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