Retired insurance agent and lobbyist Mike Causey was chosen as the Republican nominee for the position of North Carolina insurance commissioner last week, winning with a little over 41% of the vote.
His primary opponents included Joe McLaughlin and Ronald Pierce, a certified financial planner and a general contractor, respectively. McLaughlin brought in 33% of the vote and Pierce, 26%.
Causey now goes up against incumbent Wayne Goodwin, who was originally elected in 2009 and is now running for his third term.
Causey has run for the position four times, garnering 48% of the vote to Goodwin’s 52% in their last matchup in 2012.
His current campaign goals include removing the North Carolina Rate Bureau requirement, which asks the department to submit rate changes on behalf of insurers. Causey claims that by removing the requirement, more insurers would be willing to conduct business in North Carolina.
Goodwin, meanwhile, is struggling to adapt the state to the requirements of the Affordable Care Act. He is currently overseeing an investigation into Blue Cross and Blue Shield, the state’s largest health insurer, after the company lost or misapplied the records of hundreds of thousands of enrollees.
oodwin said that the investigation would probably take months, and Blue Cross would be billed for any investigative work outsourced to specialists.
“We’re at that point where it is what I need to do,” said Goodwin. “This is akin to a deep dive audit where we determine what worked, what didn’t work, whether any laws were broken, and how the process can be improved.”
He hopes to compile all violations cited in complaints in order to calculate financial penalty of up to $1,000 a day per violation under state law.
Goodwin has characterized this approach as “slow progress” and said the issues should have been resolved by now.
He is asking consumers and agents to volunteer any information that might aid his efforts.
The insurance commissioner is responsible for regulating insurance companies and agents operating in North Carolina. The elected also serves as the state's fire marshal.