Florida’s leader for insurance steps down

The natural disasters that hit the state in 2006 didn’t shake him loose, but despite today’s relative calm, the industry’s top regulator is moving on

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

On Jan. 5, Kevin McCarty announced his resignation from his post as Florida’s chief insurance regulator; his departure is effective May 2.

McCarty held the position for more than a decade, having handled even the disastrous hurricane seasons between 2004 and 2006.

“Sometimes it’s good to leave on top,” McCarty remarked.

As chief insurance regulator, it was his responsibility to determine the amount homeowners in Florida must pay for property insurance. He assumed office in 2003, having served three governors.

During his tenure, he sought to protect Florida’s consumers, particularly the elderly, from crooked insurance brokers.

On numerous occasions throughout his career, he had been criticized for increasing the rates and for controversies related to the insurance industry. McCarty was infamously wiretapped and closely followed by Bankers Insurance Co. of St. Petersburg about two decades ago after the company argued that the commissioner had “unfavorable regulatory dealings” with the state. In an out-of-court settlement in 2000, McCarty won $2.55 million.

Almost a year ago, Gov. Rick Scott called for the insurance commissioner to be replaced, but McCarty’s resignation is on his own terms and not due to any pressure from the governor.

Last October, McCarty told Scott in a private meeting that after his resignation, he would look for another job. While McCarty did not disclose his future plans, he is considered a leading candidate to be the next chief executive of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, where he once served as the association’s president.

McCarty will remain as Florida’s chief insurance regulator until May, allowing him enough time to review all insurance legislation from the 2016 session that opens just next week. After assessing the legislation, he can then make further recommendations to Gov. Scott as needed.

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