Scott ally Grady lacks minimum experience for top insurance job
Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Cabinet on Thursday are scheduled to discuss plans for a search to replace Kevin McCarty, who will resign in May after more than a decade as the state insurance commissioner.
Early speculation about McCarty's successor has focused on Tom Grady, a friend, supporter and Naples neighbor of Scott's and a former Republican legislator. It's one of the most challenging jobs in state government, regulating the powerful insurance industry and setting rates in the second-largest hurricane-prone state in the country.
There's just one problem. Grady doesn't meet the minimum qualifications to run OIR that are clearly spelled out in state law.
Grady is a former interim president of Citizens Property Insurance Corp. But he held that post for less than a year and when he applied for the permanent job, he didn't get it -- losing out to Barry Gilway, who had been president and CEO of a Seattle commercial insurance company.
When the Florida Legislature created the OIR post following a voter-approved downsizing of the Cabinet, the law required at least five years of recent experience in the insurance industry or in simliar work in the state or federal government. Here's what the law says:
"Prior to appointment as director, the Director of the Office of Insurance Regulation must have had, within the previous 10 years, at least 5 years of responsible private sector experience working full time in areas within the scope of the subject matter jurisdiction of the Office of Insurance Regulation or at least 5 years of experience as a senior examiner or other senior employee of a state or federal agency having regulatory responsibility over insurers or insurance agencies."
By law, Scott and Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater must agree on McCarty's successor, and the appointment will require the support of at least one of the other two Cabinet members.
Grady, 57, could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He's a lawyer and investment strategist whose experience is in the areas of securities, financial industry regulation, litigation, arbitration and mediation, as Scott's office noted in 2011. Grady briefly ran the state Office of Financial Regulation that year, regulating banks and credit unions in Florida. In that job, he faced scrutiny over expenses, as the Tampa Bay Times documented what it called his "liberal" spending habits, which surely would resurface if Grady were to get any serious consideration at OIR.
Here's Grady's official biography on the state Department of Education website, to which Scott appointed him last October. The brief bio makes no mention of any work in the insurance industry.