Sen. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said that he no longer thinks that Florida’s insurance commissioner should be an appointed official.
Alexander, who has a series of gripes about current Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, made his comments following a contentious debate over whether the commissioner should be subject to a confirmation vote every 2 years. The bill, SB 740, barely squeezed out of the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee by a 5-3 vote on Wednesday.
Alexander was one of the main architects of a bill in 2002 that changed the commissioner from an elected official, but he said that it was an “error” because he contended that McCarty “was more of a politician” than a professional regulator. McCarty has come under fire from some legislators for his handling of rate cases involving State Farm Florida and his opposition to a bill that would deregulate the industry.
Legislators got rid of an elected commissioner eight years ago because they did not want the newly created Chief Financial Officer position to have complete control over insurance. At the time the leading contender for the job was Tom Gallagher, who was eventually elected to the post.
“I am big enough to admit that I was wrong,’’ said Alexander.
More here from the Best of the Florida Current for March 17.