Thursday, October 07, 2010

The Commish (An InsureBlog Exclusive!)

Although the Whitman-Brown (or is that Brown-Whitman?) race seems to be sucking up all the air in the room, there's another electoral competition going on in the Golden State. In California, the Commisioner of Insurance is an elected position. It's a tough race, but independent insurance agent Rick Bronstein aims to give it all he's got. Rick graciously agreed to an (Exclusive!) email interview with InsureBlog:

InsureBlog (IB): So, Rick, can you tell our readers a bit about yourself (including how long you've been in the insurance business)?

Rick Bronstein (RB): I’ve lived in the Los Angeles area all my life, graduating from UCLA in 1978. I’ve been licensed since August 1977 when I began working in a small P& C agency part time. Ultimately I became the office manager and remained there for 9 years. Since then I’ve worked for a credit union as their insurance department manager, as an outside salesperson for Secure Horizons, and been on my own since 1996.

I enjoy long walks on the beach golf, profitable trips to Las Vegas, and riding my motorcycle [ed: since this is a family-friendly site, no centerfold].

IB: How would you characterize the current state of CA insurance markets? I realize that this is a somewhat loaded question; maybe a little bit about the P&C side, and more on the life/health (especially health) side.

RB: Like most states, mandates and regulations have created more problems than they have solved. Carriers are forced to provide benefits that may not be wanted, and every benefit has a cost.

We have a state run workers compensation company that as part of its mandate is to be revenue neutral to taxpayers. A few months ago our insurance commission sent $5,000,000 to various district attorneys throughout the state to fight fraud. How is that revenue neutral? Insurance companies should fight their own fraud cases.

The insurance commissioner has been holding Anthem Blue Cross “hostage” and has not approved their plans with effective dates after 9/22/10. How is that helping residents of California?

We’ve gone from oversight to over-regulation.

IB: Why run for insurance commissioner instead of, say, letters to the editor, that kind of thing?

Letters to the editor are almost impossible to have published, and if so, are rarely more than one or two paragraphs. While I know it’s unlikely that I will receive more votes than the establishment candidates (Democrat and Republican), at least I can get out the message of allowing a free market to actually be free.

What are your Top 3 goals should you become elected? Or, if you prefer, the first 3 things you plan to address?

The most pressing issue right now is the ObamaCrap that the brain surgeons in Washington passed. So the first 3 things I would do is to encourage the state to do everything possible to have this overturned. Among all the other unconstitutional provisions, the entire bill violates states’ rights.

Since I do not believe the insurance commissioner’s job is to make it more difficult for insurance companies to do business in California, I would reduce the regulations that thwart competition and lead to higher prices.

The third item is to once again allow for gender rating for Medicare Supplements. Several months ago the state required unisex rates which had the effect of raising prices for women on many plans by 20% or more. Once again, regulation where none was needed.

IB: One last question: With all the news out of DC, what do you think about ObamaCare, and specifically as it might effect Californians?

RB: This is a family site, right?

Thanks, Rick, for your forthright answers, and your commitment to fight the good fight. Hopefully, at least some of your ideas will find their way to implementation.

[This interview is not intended as an endorsement of any candidate]
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