4 Incumbent Commissioners Returned To Office
Voters returned incumbent insurance commissioners to office in North Carolina, North Dakota, Montana and Washington. In addition, a new commissioner was elected in Delaware.
Those results mean the only political change in membership in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners could come in Missouri and Indiana where control of the governors office, which appoints the commissioner, shifted from Democrats to Republicans and in New Hampshire, where voters replaced a Republican with a Democrat.
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In North Carolina, Democrat Jim Long, a former NAIC president, handily won his sixth term with 55% of the vote. He won his post along with Democratic incumbent Gov. Mike Easley defeating former state legislator C. Robert Brawley.
Taking nearly two-thirds of the vote, Republican Jim Poolman easily won re-election in North Dakota, defeating auto glass repair shop owner Terry Barnes. Poolman suddenly quit his post as NAIC vice president this fall and took himself out of contention for the organizations presidencya post that became vacant with the resignation of Ernst Csiszar.
In his first 2 years as commissioner, Poolman made a name for himself for his efforts to craft a model suitability law pertaining to the sale of variable annuities and other investment products. When that effort failed he ultimately succeeded in obtaining passage of such a model law pertaining solely to seniors.
Poolman also was closely allied with former NAIC President Terri Vaughan in her efforts to implement a national compact to provide a single source for life products review.
In Montana, Democrat John Morrison won re-election as State Auditor Commissioner of Insurance Securities with an estimated 57% of the vote as his fellow Democrat Brian Schweitzer took the governors chair. Morrison, one of the few former trial lawyers to serve as commissioner, ran on a platform of tax credit for small businesses to provide health insurance and some reform of the credit scoring regulations. He defeated Republican State Sen. Duane Grimes.
Morrison chaired hearings on the issue of mandatory arbitration clauses that featured a wide variety of experts and took place at 2 quarterly NAIC meetings. But in the end, there was little interest among the commissioners in taking any action that would regulate the use of such clauses, which are more important in the health sector than other areas of insurance.
In Washington, Democrat Mike Kreidler won a second term with 53% of the vote defeating Republican John Adams, who owned an insurance brokerage.
In Delaware, Democrat Matthew Denn defeated Republican David Ennis with about 53% of the vote. Denn helped write a patients bill of rights while serving as legal counsel to Gov. Ruth Ann Minner from 2001 through 2003. The former incumbent commissioner, Democrat Donna Lee Williams, is retiring after serving 12 years in the post.