Kan. Insurance Commissioner Candidates Face Off as Primary Nears

June 23, 2006

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger and candidate hopeful State Rep. Eric Carter got to the point, so to speak, recently when they spoke before members of the Wichita Association of Health Underwriters.

A point here, a point there, and a lot of bull. State Rep. Eric Carter, an Overland Park Republican and candidate for insurance commissioner, took a jab at political speeches Wednesday.

They’re like steers, he joked. ‘A point here, a point there, and a lot of bull.’

Carter dug into his primary opponent, incumbent Republican Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, calling her a ‘lovely lady’ who is not business-friendly.

When Praeger got her turn at the podium, she let most of Carter’s criticism go unanswered and instead touted the improvements she says have occurred in the world of Kansas insurance since she took office nearly four years ago.

Praeger said she had reduced spending in the state’s insurance department, helped lower auto insurance premiums by 6 percent and helped reduce fraudulent claims.

‘If insurance fraud were a company, it would be a Fortune 500 company,’ she said.

She said she has worked with the attorney general’s office and investigated 725 cases of fraud last year, which returned about $750,000 in disputed claims.

Carter, a lawyer who says he runs marathons and practices judo, is vice chairman of the House Insurance Committee. He was elected to the House in 2003.

Carter raised $103,373 during 2005 and had nearly $94,000 left to spend, according to the latest required campaign finance reports filed in January.

During the same period, Praeger raised $153,665. She had $138,462 left when she filed in January.

Praeger, a former Lawrence mayor, was a state senator from 1992 to 2000 and is vice-president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Praeger and Carter will face off in the Aug. 1 primary election.

The winner will face state Rep. Bonnie Sharp, a Democrat from Kansas City, on Nov. 7.

Source: Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

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