The search is on for the next Florida insurance commissioner – the first one to be appointed to the office since current Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty took office in 2003.
McCarty announced on Jan. 6 he would leave office in May.
The application is available on the Florida Cabinet’s website. The application process is open until March 11 and all submitted applications can be viewed on the site.
The Florida Cabinet consists of Gov. Rick Scott, Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. They will appoint the next commissioner with Atwater and Scott having veto power.
McCarty reportedly earns $134,000 and at the Jan. 21 Cabinet meeting Atwater recommended increasing the salary for the next commissioner.
“I don’t know if there is an insurance market that is as dynamic as Florida,” Atwater told his colleagues. “We have had a leader here for 13 years at $134,000, but I don’t know who we find [now] at that number with the dynamics of the Florida market and the challenges we face.”
The Cabinet agreed to a salary range from the current amount up to $200,000. The final amount will be decided based on the chosen candidate.
The Cabinet members also agreed during their Jan. 21 meeting to run the search and interview process as they have done for other open positions: applicants will apply online through March 11; each office of the Cabinet will select candidates and hold interviews; each office will recommend its chosen candidate during the Cabinet aides meeting on March 23; interviews will be held publicly during the Cabinet meeting on March 29.
The Cabinet’s goal is to have the new person in office before the hurricane season starts and before McCarty leaves office on May 2.
The job was officially posted online on Jan. 25. Five years or more of experience as a senior examiner or other senior employee of a state or federal agency having regulatory responsibilities over insurers or insurance agencies in the last 10 years is listed as a required qualification.
Neither candidate rumored to be under consideration by Gov. Scott – Florida State Representative Bill Hager and former interim Citizens CEO Tom Grady – had yet applied.
Florida insurance advocates have said they hope the Cabinet will take feedback and input from outside stakeholders and will keep the process “open and transparent.”
Florida State Senator Jeff Brandes, who has worked closely with McCarty on Florida’s flood reform efforts, said he believes lawmakers will have an opportunity to write a letter to the Cabinet in support of an applicant.
In addition, Brandes said, “We will get a vote during the confirmation hearing.”
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