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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida's next insurance comissioner is ...



By the end of the day Florida should have a new state insurance commissioner.

Gov. Rick Scott and the other three elected members of the Florida Cabinet are expected to interview two finalist for the post this afternoon and vote on who will replace longtime insurance commission Kevin McCarty, who announced in January he would leave the position in early May.

But in an unusual dynamic, a simple majority will not do in today's vote. State law requires Scott and chief financial officer Jeff Atwater to be in agreement on the next commissioner. Even if one of the candidates gets three votes either Scott or Atwater could block the nomination, adding a level of intrigue not common in cabinet meetings.

Already there are signs of a showdown. Last week Scott recommended the Cabinet only interview Pinellas County Republican Jeffrey Bragg for the position. Bragg is a former U.S. Treasury official who ran the nations terrorism risk insurance program under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. In the 1980s, President Ron Reagan appointed him to a position at the Federal Emergency Management Agency in which he oversaw the federal flood insurance program. 

Atwater has recommended both Bragg and state Rep. Bill Hager, R-Delray Beach, for the position. Hager, besides being vice chair of the House banking and insurance subcommittee is the former state insurance commissioner for Iowa.

It could take a while to resolve the appointment on Tuesday. It is the final item on a lengthy agenda. Scott's office has predicted on his official schedule for the day that they expect him to be in the meeting from 9 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 9:57am]


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