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After Elections, There Could Be 25 New Insurance Commissioners

Because insurance is state-regulated, changes in governorships and state legislatures as well as a new crop of state insurance commissioners will have a profound effect...
November 9, 2010

Because insurance is state-regulated, changes in governorships and state legislatures as well as a new crop of state insurance commissioners will have a profound effect on the insurance industry.

Commissioners are elected in 11 states. In all other states, insurance commissioners are appointed by the governor, which means many more new faces will be introduced by newly elected governors. Of the states that do not elect commissioners, possibly two dozen will welcome in new governors due to term limits on the previous governor, incumbents choosing not to run, or incumbent defeats. The National Underwriter reports that there could be as many as 25 new state insurance commissioners.

Of the four elections for insurance commissioner on November 2, the only incumbent commissioner to keep the seat was Sandy Praeger in Kansas, and she ran unopposed. Oklahoma Democratic incumbent commissioner Kim Holland, the vice president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), lost to challenger John Doak. NAIC President and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Susan E. Voss could be headed out, as incumbent Gov. Chet Culver (D) lost his bid for re-election.

We won't know the final lineup of insurance commissioners for some time, because most depend on when governors appoint - or decline to appoint - incumbents. In addition, new commissioners will also be appointed in Nebraska, Virginia and Connecticut due to resignations.