N.M. Appoints Chavez Insurance Superintendent, Establishes Market Conduct Analyst Position

October 4, 2006

The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission has given unanimous consent to the appointment of Morris Chavez as the PRC Superintendent of Insurance.

“We are very pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Chavez,” said Chairman Ben R Lujan of District 3. “Mr. Chavez has the education, experience and ethics that demonstrate that he has the ability to carry out the Commission’s new direction for the Division of Insurance.”

“Mr. Chavez’s appointment is part of our goal of creating a high level of accountability as well as more consumer focus in the Insurance Division,” said Vice-chairman Jason Marks of District 1.

Chavez, who is currently the State Gaming Represntative on the New Mexico Gaming Control Board, where he has served since his appointment in 2004, will submit his resignation. He accepted a salary of $91,500 per year, and will assume the position in approximately two weeks. He replaces former Superintendent Eric Serna, who retired in May amidst allegations of improper activity.

Prior to being a gaming representative, Chavez served as surety consultant and corporate counsel for the Manuel Lujan Insurance Inc. in Albuquerque; vice president of operations and board member of the National Guaranty Insurance Co. in Santa Fe

The commissioners also appointed Aaron Feliciano to a newly established position of Chief Market Conduct Analyst. The position was established to place more emphasis on the importance of investigations and examinations of the Insurance Fraud Bureau.

Feliciano previously served as an examiner for the Division of Insurance.)

The Commission also filled the vacancy of general counsel for the Division of Insurance with the appointment of John Clough.

“With these new appointments, the Commission is committed to a new focus for the Division of Insurance, making New Mexico a more friendly place to do insurance business, while making the industry understand that if they do business in New Mexico they will follow the laws of New Mexico,” Chair Lujan added.

Last week, controvery arose when the PRC said it was considering candidates but did not make the names of applicants public. PRC said applicants for the NM PRC Superintendent of Insurance Position who submitted letters of interest and resumes were:
-Morris Chavez
-Pete Dinelli
-Steve Kennedy
-Richard Leyba
-Edward Lopez
-Leticia Montoya
-Beatriz Rivera
-Buffie Saavedra
-Alan Seeley
-Angela Vigil

The Finalists were: Morris Chavez, Pete Dinelli, Edward Lopez and Beatriz Rivera.

PRC said the criteria used to select the finalists:
-Legal background;
-Regulatory background;
-Insurance experience; and
-Reputation for high ethical standards.

The Commission conducted additional reference checks for the finalists.

“We assure the public that the Commission worked hard at making this decision,” said Com. David King of District 2. “I am looking forward to working with Mr. Chavez.”

Source: PRC

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