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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Insurance commissioner saga is a sideshow at industry conference in Tampa



Between a Florida Cabinet meeting Tuesday and another special Cabinet meeting Friday, the drama over picking a new state insurance commissioner is shifting momentarily from Tallahassee to Tampa today.

Many of the key players in the political saga, including outgoing Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty, are in Tampa for the inaugural conference of the Florida Association for Insurance Reform (FAIR). The topic that analysts, insurers, reinsurers and other industry experts will tackle during the daylong event is: The Role of Catastrophe Reinsurance in a Wind Exposed Region,

Among scheduled speakers are two of the finalists to take over the helm of the state regulatory agency: Ray Blacklidge, executive vice president and general counsel of American Traditions Insurance, and Belinda Miller, chief of staff of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

McCarty, who reportedly drew laughter from attendees during a kickoff panel by saying that he's the insurance commissioner until Monday, will find out soon just how long his tenure will last. McCarty had offered to stay on until 45 days after his sucessor is chosen.

But Gov. Rick Scott  and Florida CFO Jeff Atwater are at an impasse over both picking a new commissioner and when McCarty must leave. Scott says McCarty should leave May 2, his original departure date in his resignation letter. Atwater offered a different legal opinion that McCarty should be able to stay since Scott and the Florida Cabinet never formally accepted his resignation.

By coincidence, Scott is in Tampa as well today. He is attending a jobs event at the ReliaQuest offices on W. Kennedy Boulevard this morning, just four miles away from the FAIR conference at the Tampa Airport Marriott.

[Last modified: Thursday, April 28, 2016 10:54am]


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