NU Online News Service, May 9, 12:45 p.m. – The Florida Legislature has approved a plan that transfers key elements of the state’s regulation of insurance from an elected official to an appointed official.

The bill, H.B. 3E, was sponsored by Rep. JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, Fla. It will create the Department of Financial Services, which will include an Office of Insurance Regulation and an Office of Financial Institutions and Securities Regulations.

The bill was passed by both the House and Senate and has been sent to Gov. Jeb Bush, a Republican, for his approval.

The American Insurance Association, Atlanta, an industry group, praised the long-debated bill, which was the result of a compromise worked out by Bush, legislative leaders, Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher and state Comptroller Robert Milligan.

The bill calls for the new Department of Financial Services to be headed by an elected chief financial officer.

Most authority for rule-making and rate approvals, however, will be in the hands of an insurance director, who will be appointed by the governor and cabinet.

The CFO will keep some oversight duties, including agent licensing, administration of the workers’ compensation system, consumer services and insurance fraud.