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Watchdog Weighs In On Governor’s Insurance Commissioner Selection

September 17, 2007

Bismarck, ND – Governor Hoeven is looking for a replacement for outgoing State Insurance Commissioner Jim Poolman and consumer advocates are keeping a close eye on the selection process. Don Morrison, of the group NDPeople.Org, has been appointed to act as a public watchdog for insurance industry regulators. He says he's asked the Governor to choose a successor who will make sure the Insurance Commission will aggressively stand up for consumers.

"North Dakotans deserve an insurance commissioner who has a strong backbone to work for us, rather than as a budding corporate consultant."

Poolman resigned midway through his term to start consulting for an insurance company. Morrison believes it is essential that the Governor is heedful of a "revolving door" pattern, in which regulators go back and forth from the industry they are supposed to regulate.

"When insurance commissioners, here and in other states, get hired by the insurance industry or serve them as consultants, that's a pretty obvious clue about whose side they've been working on. It's time to replace the foxes in the chicken coop."

Morrison adds North Dakotans are paying more for for all types of insurance coverage and yet, getting less value for their premium dollars. His organization has proposed five criteria for hiring a new Commissioner in a letter to the Governor. The list can be viewed online at www.NDPeople.Org/a>.

Dick Layman/Craig Eicher, Public News Service - ND