New Florida Insurance Commissioner Altmaier Takes the Reins

May 23, 2016

After nearly 13 years, Florida has a new insurance commissioner. The Florida Cabinet appointed David Altmaier April 29 to succeed long-time insurance commissioner Kevin McCarty, who announced earlier this year that he would step down in May.

Altmaier was formerly deputy commissioner within the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). He was interviewed at an “emergency” Cabinet meeting on April 29 after Cabinet members failed to reach an agreement at two previous meetings. More than 70 people submitted applications for the position.

Gov. Rick Scott and CFO Jeff Atwater had been locked in a stalemate over candidates they each had recommended – Atwater backed Florida Rep. Bill Hager and Scott wanted Jeffrey Bragg, a former federal insurance official.

Florida law requires that the governor and CFO must agree on the choice of an insurance commissioner, who can then be hired with the support of at least one other Cabinet member.

The Cabinet also includes Attorney General Pam Bondi and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam. All four unanimously backed Altmaier after Atwater motioned to appoint him with the condition that McCarty would remain with OIR for a two-month transition period.

Who Is Altmaier?

Altmaier, who at age 34 will be one of the youngest state regulators, will be paid $165,000.

Altmaier is a property/casualty specialist who has been with the Florida OIR since 2008. A Kentucky native, he is a 2004 graduate of Western Kentucky University where he majored in mathematics. He spent two years working in a Tallahassee insurance agency (Peggy Browning Insurance Agency) in customer service before joining OIR in September 2008 as an examiner in the property/casualty financial oversight unit.

He has risen in the ranks in that department to become chief analyst in 2012 and director in 2014. Last March he was named OIR’s deputy commissioner for P/C.

He has served on various committees of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), including chairing the P/C Risk-Capital Working Group and the Capital Adequacy Task Force.

Over the past seven years working at OIR, he said he has developed a “deep base of knowledge regarding Florida’s property/casualty market.”

In his application, he cited his areas of expertise including catastrophe reinsurance, reinsurance buying trends, residual markets, insurer accounting and reporting requirements, insurer capital requirements and insurance company examinations.

“My wide variety of experiences related to insurance regulation allows me to view complex problems from multiple perspectives and make regulatory decisions in a fair, appropriate, and deliberative manner,” Altmaier wrote.

At OIR, he spearheaded the development of tools to monitor the resiliency of the state’s property insurance market.

“In particular, the Office’s development of these tools under my leadership resulted in the creation and implementation of one of the only catastrophe stress tests of its kind in the United States,” he wrote.

In his cover letter with his application, the new commissioner said that through his work at OIR, he has developed “a deep appreciation for the role insurance plays in the daily lives of Floridians.”

Altmaier told the Cabinet at his April 29 interview that the current talent at OIR were one of his primary considerations in applying for the job, and that he hoped members of the senior management team would stay on board if he was hired.

He also said that OIR’s current philosophy of “consumer protection and a robust marketplace” would remain intact under his leadership.

“You might see some new thoughts and new processes in terms of how we get new products in the marketplace and how we communicate with stakeholders,” Altmaier said. “But overall I think everyone in [OIR] is committed to consumers in a way that facilitates a robust marketplace, and that’s a philosophy I would strive to continue as insurance commissioner.”