Kevin McCarty’s decision to resign as Florida’s insurance commissioner at the beginning of the year after 13 years in the position rocked the state’s insurance world. It also set the stage for a political battle between Florida Gov. Rick Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater over his replacement.
McCarty alerted the Florida Cabinet, which consists of Scott, Atwater, Commissioner of Agriculture Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi, in January that he would step down on May 2, 2016. McCarty cited his desire to pursue other job opportunities as the reason for his departure.
Rumored names of his successor began flying and an online application was opened to fill the position. After weeding through the 50-plus applications, the Cabinet interviewed Florida State Rep. Bill Hager and former Terrorism Risk Insurance Program Director Jeffrey Bragg in March. But the governor and CFO couldn’t agree and instead reopened the application and interviewed several more candidates.
In a special emergency meeting on April 29, the Cabinet appointed OIR’s Deputy Insurance Commissioner for Property Casualty David Altmaier as the new commissioner with the caveat that McCarty would remain for a two month transition.
Altmaier, 34-years old at the time of his appointment, is the youngest insurance commissioner in the country. He has been with the Florida OIR since 2008, spearheading the development of tools to monitor the resiliency of the state’s property insurance market in light of its exposure to catastrophic hurricanes.
He is a Kentucky native and a 2004 graduate of Western Kentucky University where he majored in mathematics. He spent two years working in a Tallahassee insurance agency, the Peggy Browning Insurance Agency, in customer service before joining the Florida OIR in September 2008 as an examiner in the property/casualty financial oversight unit. He rose in the ranks in that department to become chief analyst in 2012 and director in 2014. In 2015 he was named OIR’s deputy commissioner for P/C.
Altmaier said in his cover letter he has developed “a deep appreciation for the role insurance plays in the daily lives of Floridians.”
Altmaier has tackled several major Florida insurance issues already since taking office, and he said there is plenty of work ahead.
“Since being appointed Florida’s insurance commissioner the summer and early fall has been filled with significant developments across many lines of insurance. In addition to responding to the first hurricanes to affect Florida in several years, we’ve also faced supreme court decisions which will change the dynamics of our workers’ compensation market, challenges in our health insurance market, and rising property insurance rates,” Altmaier told Insurance Journal. “These issues have helped frame our priorities for the rest of this year as well as for 2017. I’m looking forward to addressing these topics with the many interested stakeholders in our state, while continuing to make Florida a leader in consumer protection and market stability.”
Each top Florida insurance topic of 2016 will be highlighted this week. Check back Friday for this year’s changes in Florida’s flood insurance market and what’s in store for the private market next year.
- Top Florida Stories of 2016: Workers’ Comp Market in Turmoil
- Top Florida Stories of 2016: The AOB ‘Insurance Crisis’
- Top Florida Stories of 2016: The End of Florida’s Hurricane Drought
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