New Jersey is losing its top insurance regulator and South Carolina is gaining a new top insurance regulator.[@@]

Holly Bakke, New Jersey’s banking and insurance commissioner, is resigning and plans to leave her job March 1.

Meanwhile, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, has named Eleanor Kitzman, a business founder, to become his state’s insurance director.

Bakke, a Republican, has had to spend 90 minutes commuting to and from Trenton, N.J., each day, and she said in her letter of resignation that she wanted to spend more time with her teen-age son and become more involved in her community.

New Jersey’s acting governor, Richard Codey, a Democrat, had asked Bakke to stay on when he took his post in November 2004.

Codey says he appreciates the fact that Bakke stayed on through the changeover in administrations.

“I recognize the importance her family played in her decision to resign,” Codey says.

Bakke, a career public servant, spent 11 years as executive director of the state’s guaranty fund before she was appointed commissioner by former Gov. James McGreevy in 2002.

In South Carolina, Eleanor Kitzman is succeeding Ernst Csiszar.

Csiszar, who had been president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Kansas City, Mo., resigned in September of 2004 to become chief executive of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, Des Plaines, Ill.

Kitzman is the founder and former president of Driver’s Choice Insurance Services, Columbus, S.C., an auto insurance business formed in 1999 that now has 45 employees in 5 offices.