Make us your home page

The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Top candidates for insurance commissioner get interviews



Efforts to find a new Florida insurance commissioner before hurricane season begins is well underway.

Gov. Rick Scott interviewed a pair of top contenders for the job on Monday, with another scheduled for an interview today. Florida's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater is scheduled to interview at least four candidates today, with more expected in tomorrow.

Scott on Monday interviewed former U.S. Treasury Department official Jeffrey Bragg and David Altmaier, a deputy commissioner within the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. Bragg, a Palm Harbor resident, is the former executive director of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program under President George W. Bush and in the 1980s administered the National Flood Insurance Program during the Ronald Reagan administration. Altmaier has held six different positions with OIR since 2008. He was promoted to Deputy Commissioner a year ago.

Today, Scott is set to interview State Rep. Bill Hager, R-Boca Raton, for the post. Hager was the commissioner of the Iowa Department of Insurance from 1986 to 1990.

In all 55 people have applied to become the state's next insurance commissioner. They are seeking to replace Kevin McCarty who resigned in January after more than a decade at the state's top insurance regulator. McCarty had been the state's insurance commissioner since 2003, when Florida changed the insurance commissioner post from an elected post to an appointed position. McCarty's resignation is effective on May 2.

Scott and the three other elected members of the cabinet, including Atwater, are charged with selecting a replacement for McCarty.

Atwater is scheduled today to interview four employees who have worked under McCarty. McCarty's chief of staff Belinda Miller, chief actuary Eric Johnson, and deputy commissioners Rich Robleto and Altmaier, who interviewed with Scott, are all expected to be interviewed by Atwater today.

The list of candidates interested in the post, which carries a salary up to $200,000 a year, include top state insurance regulators from Missouri, Nevada, Illinois, Alabama and Tennessee. Scott and the Cabinet voted earlier this month to increase the pay of the position in hopes it would pull more national candidates. McCarty made $134,000 a year.

The full Florida Cabinet has scheduled to interview and appoint a replacement to McCarty at its March 29.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 22, 2016 10:55am]


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours