After the long Memorial Day weekend, the Texas Department of Insurance and Gov. Rick Perry wasted no time before putting the confirmation of Eleanor Kitzman as Insurance Commissioner to a vote.
Kitzman was appointed by Gov. Perry in 2011 and remembered by many Senators for having far more interest for the companies and not for the consumers. Her presumed bias becomes more evident with some of the events that took place during her tenure.
– Kitzman removed a rule that would require insurers to give fair warning about any out-of-pocket costs that would be incurred for out of network expenses. Insurance Journal
– Kitzman declined to put any restriction on premium hikes in 2012. This led to some of the most profitable years from companies such as Allstate, Farmers and more specifically State Farm who implemented a 20% rate increase in 2012. Dallas News
- Kitzman and the TDI put off multiple requests for premium and loss figures. The statistics that are usually released in April were not available until this past Memorial Day Weekend, just before her confirmation hearing.
- The following are the Loss Ratios for the largest home insurers in Texas. Dallas News
- State Farm – 47.5%
- Allstate – 50.8%
- Farmers – 66.3%
- USAA – 54.4%
- Liberty Mutual – 58.3%
– Kitzman has been criticized for spending over $1.5 Million of tax dollars on consultant fees with a New York based firm. Insurance Journal
After Kitzman failed to be confirmed by the senate after 21 months of service, Gov. Perry appointed Julia J. Rathegber as the Insurance Commissioner of Texas. Rathgeber was the deputy chief of staff in the office of Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst. Rathgeber studied at the University of Texas at Austin and earned both her bachelors and law degree. Rathgeber is involved in other various associations such as the State Bar of Texas and the Seton Fund Development Board. Texas State Directory
Rathgeber will serve as Commissioner until 2015, when she will face the same confirmation process that Kitzman failed to conquer. Rathgeber has a clean slate with potential for major impact. How she handles the steady increase in property rates, the impeding hurricane season and how her office harnesses the economic boom in the state will seal her fate in 2015.
- Rathgeber Appointed Texas Insurance Commissioner as Kitzman Exits (insurancejournal.com)
- Rathgeber appointed state insurance commissioner (bizjournals.com)
- Governor appoints new insurance commissioner (trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com)
- Report: Texas Insurance Commissioner Stepping Down (insurancejournal.com)
- Report: Texas insurance commissioner stepping down (star-telegram.com)
- Insurance commissioner forced out by Senate (trailblazersblog.dallasnews.com)
- Insurance Commissioner Kitzman defends money spent on consutlants (caller.com)
- Insurance commissioner Kitzman’s fate now in Senate hands (caller.com)