Financial Services Commission Responsible for New Commissioner Appointment
Florida Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty’s announcement that he is resigning effective May 2, 2016, puts Florida in a position it has been in only once before– needing to appoint an insurance commissioner to lead the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). McCarty is the first, and only, insurance commissioner appointed after the restructuring of the Florida Cabinet more than a dozen years ago, which included the creation of the OIR.
So, with Florida needing to fill the commissioner’s position later this year, how does the process work?
The Financial Services Commission of the State of Florida ultimately is responsible for appointing (and removing) the insurance commissioner. The Financial Services Commission is composed of the Governor (Republican Rick Scott), the Chief Financial Officer (Republican Jeff Atwater), the Attorney General (Republican Pam Bondi), and the Commissioner of Agriculture (Republican Adam Putnam). The Financial Services Commission must appoint an insurance commissioner by a majority vote consisting of the affirmative votes of at least three of its members. In addition, both the Governor and the Chief Financial Officer must be on the prevailing side. Said differently, Governor Scott and CFO Atwater must agree on the next insurance commissioner, and at least one of Attorney General Bondi and Commissioner Putnam must join them.
Also, with Commissioner McCarty’s long tenure at the Office of Insurance Regulation, we haven’t had to look at the statutory requirements for the position in many years. By law, the commissioner must have had, within the last ten years, at least five years of responsible private sector experience working full time in areas with the subject matter jurisdiction of the OIR, or alternatively must have had at least five years’ experience as a senior examiner or other senior employee of a state or federal agency having regulatory responsibility over insurers or insurance agencies.
In the coming weeks the Financial Services Commission will advertise the position and begin to consider candidates. In the meantime, Florida will embark under the last regular legislative session of Commissioner McCarty’s tenure.