Posted on 14 May 2010
Florida Senator Mike Bennet (R-Bradenton) is repeating his call for the ousting of the state's insurance commissioner, calling his behavior "reprehensible" and saying he is no longer trustworthy.
In a letter to several media outlets in the state, the senator asked Gov. Charlie Crist to lead an effort to remove Kevin McCarty from office immediately. Bennett said he made the request last year, after Crist vetoed residential insurance legislation at McCarty’s recommendation and no action was taken.
Bennett alleges that McCarty “either lied” before Florida’s cabinet “or at least hid the truth” in testifying on the health of new companies in Florida by neglecting to tell state leaders that several of those companies had already gone out of business.
“He has a habit of saying whatever he thinks his boss wants to hear,” Bennet wrote. “Over the last year, it has become more and more evident that Commissioner McCarty is NOT serving the residents of Florida in any beneficial way and that the insurance markets in Florida have become weaker and more vulnerable under poor leadership and as a result of his unsound policymaking.”
The state senator also pointed to a recent inquiry by Florida Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink regarding some insurers close to bankruptcy to continue writing policies without warning consumers. Bennett accused McCarty of allowing companies to drop unwanted customers and ending requirements that companies be able to cover the worst hurricanes possible.
In her letter, Sink cites several indicators of a “fundamental shift in strategy with regard to the regulation of property insurance companies.” They include an order removing a requirement from Citizens Property Insurance Corp. to provide three years of continuous coverage for policies, a request for receivership of Northern Capital Insurance Co. and the monitoring of Magnolia Insurance Co. about to enter receivership.
In response, McCarty defended all the actions of his office as “intended to support and promote the insurance marketplace in Florida while protecting policyholders.”
Despite the defense, Bennett said McCarty’s “out-of-control tactics include dishonesty and evasion when information is demanded.”
Adding he is aware McCarty will not resign, he implores Crist, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum or Sink “to provide the necessary leadership and accountability required in order to protect Florida residents.
“We are no longer able to trust McCarty’s word or his actions,” Bennet concluded. “Gov. Crist prides himself as ‘the people’s governor’ and he is now an ‘Independent’ politician. I am again calling on the governor to lead and urge the Florida Cabinet to discharge Kevin McCarty as insurance commissioner.”