Following The Heartland Institute’s release of Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) emails, the state’s insurance commissioner, Kevin McCarty, wrote to Heartland defending his agency’s actions in the weeks leading up to the insolvency of the Northern Capital Group of companies.
Christian R. Cámara, Florida director of Heartland’s Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, and Eli Lehrer, the center’s national director, say McCarty’s statement proves Heartland’s point that OIR put the interests of a company ahead of the interests of Florida consumers.
“We are aware that Florida law allows OIR to keep the details of a company placed under administrative supervision from the public,” said Cámara. “However, it also provides OIR the discretion to release such information when doing so would serve the public interest. OIR rightfully did just that in the case of Magnolia Insurance, but it chose to keep Northern Capital’s administrative supervision from the public. Although OIR did nothing illegal, I believe it made the wrong policy decision in keeping consumers in the dark about a company being barred from doing business because of its inability to pay claims.”
Lehrer says OIR is playing the wrong role.
“OIR’s job is to protect consumers, not the industry,” Lehrer said. “Regulators should not be management consultants. Consumers’ interests have to come before those of insurance company owners.”