Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Thomas Sullivan will resign Nov. 12 to take a position at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
"I fully believe the Connecticut Insurance Department is better equipped to respond to our constituents today than when your current term began," Sullivan said in a Nov. 1 letter to Gov. M. Jodi Rell. "
He starts his new position on Nov. 15. It's not clear what his title or duties will be at the company which is known for accounting and tax services. His salary as commissioner is $143,222.
State commissioner positions are always subject to change when a new governor comes in, which is the case in January 2011 because Rell isn't running in the gubernatorial race that will be decided today.
Sullivan was under fire in recent weeks by a number of groups who asked Rell to fire Sullivan for not responding to consumer issues and for approving high increases to premiums, including as much as 47 percent for some plans offered by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Connecticut.
One week ago, Citizens for Economic Opportunity were joined by state Sen. Edith Prague, D-Columbia, in calling on Rell to fire Sullivan and replace him with a "more consumer-oriented individual who will protect Connecticut residents from unwarranted health insurance increases." The citizens group represents Connecticut AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, Connecticut Citizen Action Group and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, among others. The Auto Body Association of Connecticut on Oct. 28 also asked Rell to fire Sullivan because the group claims he sides with insurers over disputes related to the type of car parts used in collision repairs. The Insurance Department refutes the auto body group's claims.
Sullivan defended himself and the Insurance Department from attacks in October after the department approved rate increases in September that insurers attributed to federal health reform. Sullivan had said that reform mandated insurers to provide richer benefits and insurers were passing along the cost of those benefits to consumers. However, consumer advocates say federal reform was estimated to drive up premiums by 1 or 2 percent, citing federal government estimates.