“Center probe reveals cozy relationships, revolving doors and shady financial ties”
Insurance companies and their employees were among the top political donors to state commissioner candidates during the past decade in at least six of the 11 states that elect the regulators. The Center of Public Integrity found a pattern of coziness between the insurance industry and the state commissioners who regulate them, ranging from political donations to job offers. Here, a campaign worker puts up a poster for a 2014 insurance commissioner candidate in Los Angeles. Chris Carlson/AP
by Michael J. Mishak | The Center for Public Integrity
“Half of the 109 insurance commissioners who have left their posts in the last decade have gone on to work for the insurance industry — many leaving before their terms expire. Just two moved into consumer advocacy”
“When the Arkansas insurance commissioner weighed the merits of a hospital’s billing complaint against United Healthcare, her interactions with one of the nation’s largest health insurers extended far beyond her department’s hearing room.
“During months of deliberations, Commissioner Julie Benafield Bowman met repeatedly with United Healthcare lawyers and lobbyists over lunch and drinks at venues such as the Country Club of Little Rock.
“‘I had a blast with you Monday night,’ Benafield emailed United Healthcare lawyer Bill Woodyard, himself a former state insurance commissioner. ‘Thank you so much for entertaining us.’”
“The Center for Public Integrity collected 41 of the most recent disclosure reports for insurance commissioners from around the country, which can detail potential conflicts of interest, such as business investments, spousal employment or corporate-paid travel.”
“Teresa D. Miller was appointed Insurance Commissioner by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on January 20, 2015.”