Tennessee Insurance Head McPeak Steps Down; Lawrence Tapped as Interim Chief

May 14, 2019

After eight years as the head of the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI), Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak is leaving Tennessee state government in order to pursue career opportunities in the private sector, according to a statement from TDCI.

TDCI announced McPeak’s resignation May 13, saying her last day as commissioner will be June 14, 2019.

Julie Mix McPeak

TDCI said Governor Bill Lee has named Deputy Commissioner Carter Lawrence to serve as Interim Commissioner until a permanent commissioner is selected.

“We thank Julie Mix McPeak for her over eight years of service and her tireless commitment to her Department and to Tennessee. We wish her the best in her future endeavors,” said Lee. “Carter Lawrence has ably served as Deputy Commissioner at the Department of Commerce and Insurance, and I look forward to serving alongside him as he steps into the role of Interim Commissioner.”

McPeak was first appointed commissioner by Governor Bill Haslam in 2011 and was reappointed by Lee after he was elected governor in November. Shortly after, she spoke with Insurance Journal about her priorities for TDCI under the new administration and her takeaways from her tenure as president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), which she completed in December. NAIC is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization created and governed by the chief insurance regulators from the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.

“My main take away is that the state-based system of insurance regulation is solid, works very well in the United States market, and that we still are the world leader in terms of financial oversight, consumer protection, and competitive market,” McPeak said at the time.

The former executive director of the Kentucky Office of Insurance, McPeak is the first woman to serve as chief insurance regulator in more than one state.

“Tennessee is a special place, and it has been a distinct privilege and honor to have served the Volunteer State,” McPeak said. “It’s been an amazing journey. At the end of the day, I’m enormously proud of our accomplishments on behalf of Tennesseans. I believe the Department has helped play a role in transforming Tennessee into a national and international destination for families and businesses. I am excited about the next chapter of my life and my career in Nashville – and I’m equally excited about what’s in store for Tennessee.”

TDCI said under McPeak’s leadership, its multiple divisions “undertook numerous initiatives and programs that have improved Tennessee,” including:

  • Accreditation of TDCI by the NAIC. As part of the NAIC’s accreditation program, state insurance departments must undergo comprehensive, independent review every five years to ensure they meet financial solvency oversight standards. States that maintain their accredited status demonstrate that the current means of regulatory monitoring is intact and continues to work effectively.
  • Creating and implementing the “Get Alarmed, Tennessee!” free smoke alarm program. Since its inception in 2012, the Tennessee State Fire Marshal’s Office and its Tennessee fire service partners have distributed over 198,000 smoke alarms statewide. Smoke alarms installed through the program are credited with saving 265 Tennesseans from fire danger, so far.
  • Modernizing Tennessee’s captive insurance laws, resulting in Tennessee domestic captive insurance companies exceeding $1 billion in written premiums in 2017 for the first time. Its efforts resulted in Tennessee being named Domicile of The Year (Less Than 200 Captives) at the 2018 U.S. Captive Review Awards for its achievements.
  • Streamlining the process of issuing professional licenses, enabling Tennessee professionals to obtain their license in a more timely and efficient manner.
Carter Lawrence

Lawrence previously served as TDCI’s Deputy Commissioner overseeing the department’s administration as well as the Division of Regulatory Boards. While managing the Division of Regulatory Boards, he oversaw nearly 40 fee reductions across the division’s 27 program areas, TDCI said, benefitting many of the more than 250,000 licensees across the Volunteer State.

A native of Williamson County, Lawrence is an attorney and studied law at the University of Tennessee, where he also obtained a Master of Business Administration. For undergraduate studies, Carter obtained a Bachelor of Arts at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill.

“Commissioner McPeak leaves a legacy of sound management practices and continually challenging the Department’s executive staff and our team members to strive for their best as they serve the public. Following her example, I will champion Governor Lee’s vision for Tennessee during my service as Interim Commissioner. I thank Governor Lee for the opportunity to serve Tennessee in this role,” Lawrence said.

Source: Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance

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