The Pennsylvania Insurance Department has approved Conseco Inc.’s spinoff of a long term care insurance subsidiary to an independent trust.

The department approved the move without holding public hearings, despite appeals to do so by at least 3 state insurance regulators.

The move affects Conseco’s Conseco Senior Health Insurance Company subsidiary.

Myron Kreidler, the Washington state insurance commissioner; Kevin McCarty, the Florida commissioner; and Steve Poizner, the California commissioner, had separately asked Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner Joel Ario to hold public hearings on the transfer.

In a letter, Ario told McCarty that public hearings would not be required under Pennsylvania law but that his department’s review process “will be as transparent as possible.”

Ario did not respond to Kreidler’s or Poizner’s letters directly, instead passing them on to Conseco, which responded without addressing the question of public hearings.

The establishment of the Pennsylvania trust relieves Conseco of responsibility for 140,000 LTC policyholders.

The trust will be known as Senior Health Insurance Company of Pennsylvania, or SHIP, to be managed by an independent group, Senior Health Care Oversight Trust.

The oversight trust is to be governed by a board composed of former insurance regulators and financial experts, consisting of former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop; Julianne Bowler, a former Massachusetts insurance commissioner; Gregory Serio, a former New York state insurance superintendent; Cecil Bykerk, president of the Society of Actuaries, Schaumburg, Ill.; and John Wells, who has been president of Conseco Senior Health and now will be president and chief executive officer of SHIP, which will be based in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Wells’s senior management team for operations and finance also has been transferred to SHIP, according to Conseco, Carmel, Ind.

Wells said the new company will be operated solely for the benefit of its LTC policyholders and without a profit, “so as to ensure that any future benefits from rate increases or policy changes will accrue solely to policyholders.”

Conseco announced its intention to establish the trust Aug. 11.

The transaction creates a company with about $2.9 billion in assets.

Under the terms of the deal, all of the stock of Conseco Senior Health has been transferred to the trust. The transfer includes $121 million in Conseco Senior Health adjusted capital. Conseco added $175 million in capital, the company says.

In a statement, Conseco CEO James Prieur says he expects the arrangement will provide his company with “reduced earnings volatility and better allocation of management resources.”

Conseco still sells LTC policies through its Bankers Life and Casualty Company subsidiary’s career agents. Bankers Life remains “committed to the LTC business,” a Conseco spokesman says.

To view Conseco’s application to the Pennsylvania Insurance Department to establish SHIP, along with comment letters and related materials, .