Voters in five states will be electing the states’ top insurance regulators tomorrow.
Wayne Goodwin is running for re-election in North Carolina, and Mike Kreidler is running for re-election in Washington state.
Delaware, Montana and North Dakota all have open races.
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The open race in Delaware came up Friday when executives with Richmond, Virginia-based Genworth Financial held a conference call with securities analysts to discuss the company’s third-quarter earnings, efforts to separate the unit that writes ordinary life insurance policies and annuities from the unit that writes long-term care insurance, and a pending deal with Beijing-based China Oceanwide Holdings Ltd.
The insurance commissioner in Delaware is one of the officials who has to approve the “de-stacking” of the Genworth insurance subsidiaries. During the conference call, a securities analyst asked Thomas McInerney, Genworth’s president, whether a commissioner change could affect the Delaware review process.
McInerney said that the employees on an insurance department’s staff tend to do the analytical work supporting a commissioner’s transaction reviews. In Delaware, “they have generally stayed in place,” McInerney said. “I would expect that to continue going forward.”
Depending on who ends up controlling the White House and Congress, insurance commissioners will also play a role in deciding whether happens next in the individual major medical insurance market, the Affordable Care Act public exchange system, the private long-term care insurance market, and just about every other commercial and personal protection insurance market.
Delaware has an open race because Trinidad Navarro, the New Castle County sheriff, defeated the Democratic incumbent, Karen Weldin Stewart, in a primary Sept. 13.
Navarro had a few years of experience as an insurance agent before he went into law enforcement.
Navarro said before the primary that Weldin Stewart traveled out of state too much and was too soft on insurers, including health insurers.
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Navarro is running against against Jeffrey Cragg.
Cragg, a Republican, got his start as a group life and health agent at Norristown, Pennsylvania-based Provident American Corp. He later worked as a manager for A-G Administrators, a Valley Forge, Pennsylvania-based accident and sports accident insurance products distributor.
Since 2000, Cragg has owned retail shipping stores and been active in Delaware Republican Party politics.
Cragg told Delaware’s Newark Post his priorities include holding insurance prices down by encouraging competition, and using audits and other means to make sure insurers meet policy obligations.
Polling data for the insurance commissioner race was not immediately available, but a survey from the University of Delaware conducted in mid-September shows John Carney, the state’s Democratic candidate for governor, had a 57 percent to 25 percent lead over the Republican candidate, Colin Bonini, among registered voters.
Montana has an open race tomorrow because of term limits.
Monica Lindeen, a Democrat, is the state’s outgoing state auditor, insurance commissioner and securities commissioner. This year, she’s running for secretary of state.