After twelve years working for three governors, Florida’s tenth insurance commissioner has resigned his post effective May 2, 2016. Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi will struggle mightily to fill the void. Governor Scott will offer up a name and if Atwater agrees, the entire Cabinet will vote to replace the irreplaceable Kevin McCarty.
His legacy will be debated. But clearly McCarty has proven to be Florida’s most unique and talented insurance chief…ever!
In 1992 after hurricane Andrew laid south Dade to waste, he was our point-man on all issues relating to the storm’s aftermath. Which included implementing the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund and the first “Homeowners” residual market, the FRPCJUA, later Citizens.
After the cabinet reorganization McCarty became Florida’s first appointed commissioner. One with mind boggling technical expertise; especially when contrasted with the politicians who held the post before him. That proved essential–after the 2004 and 2005 storm seasons he helped lawmakers navigate some of the most controversial insurance reforms in Florida’s history.
Even those who were critical called McCarty “the good soldier”. He shepherded the debilitating agenda of Charlie Crist but later applied the same skill correcting that agenda under Rick Scott. Private firms typically drool over such a combination of elan and technical proficiency.
I’m old enough to have been around when Kevin McCarty’s career began to take off. He was an expert on workers compensation at the Department of Labor but left to join the OIR ( DOI) in 1991; the year before Hurricane Andrew. In addition to property he held the wheel during reforms for auto, medical malpractice, health and worker’s compensation insurance. In October of last year, and consistent with my blogs on the futility of yet another round of PIP reform, McCarty foreshadowed the demise of Florida’s auto reparations system publicly stating it might be time to repeal no-fault altogether.
Though it certainly wasn’t clear from his statement of resignation, many predict he’s been lured to head the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). When he accepted the presidency of NAIC January 1, 2012, he showed the vision necessary to become its’ top staff executive.
“Over the next year we must confront several important challenges. Whether it is Dodd-Frank or the Affordable Care Act, the federal government has become increasingly involved in the insurance arena. … I intend to vigorously defend the role of state-based regulation, highlight our accomplishments, and continue to work for regulatory modernization and national uniformity to create an insurance framework that benefits both consumers and the insurance industry.”
His participation at NAIC proved important, as it gave Florida consumers and insurers a national voice at a time when it was needed most. He also elevated Florida’s international presence by serving on the International Association of Insurance Supervisors’ (IAIS) Executive and technical committees, as well as the Joint Forum, a key group of leading international regulators from the insurance, banking and securities sectors.
Perhaps the best way to know more about the influence Kevin McCarty has had on the state, national and international insurance stage, is to listen/read one or more of his presentations to the United States Congress; which you can do via the links below. (See Note #1)
Consummate technician, leader, innovator, good soldier–words that describe a man who, to both friends and enemies, was always immensely admired and respected.
Kevin McCarty, far and away, the right man at the right time!
|Continuing Care Retirement Communities — 07-21-2010Video of 07-21-2010 testimony|