Florida insurance department has lost its top three regulators
David Altmaier

The retirements have insiders speculating about potential replacements.

Another top Florida insurance regulator is out the door as a tough new lobbying ban takes effect.

The state’s top life and health insurance regulator, John Reilly, is stepping down from his position as the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) Deputy Commissioner of Life and Health and has taken a job at Oscar Health, sources close to the insurance commissioner’s office said.

Reilly is the third person to resign, leaving the OIR without its three top insurance regulators. 

Florida’s top insurance regulator, David Altmaier, announced last week he was stepping down as the state’s top regulator effective Dec. 28. His resignation came after Florida lawmakers passed sweeping legislation changing how the state’s property insurance market operates. The measure also limits lawsuits, makes Citizens Property Insurance less attractive to homeowners, sets up a $1 billion reinsurance fund, and more.

Susanne Murphy stepped down as the Deputy Commissioner of Property & Casualty earlier this month and took a job at Meenan PA. She oversaw the regulation of property and casualty insurance policies, which includes Florida’s beleaguered homeowners’ insurance market, and was Reilly’s counterpart.

The retirements also have people speculating about potential replacements.

The director of the OIR, usually referred to as the insurance commissioner, is a political appointee who first must be agreed upon by the Governor and the Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Thereafter, the appointee must be confirmed by the Financial Services Commission, which is comprised of all the state’s cabinet members. There were 4,630 insurance-related entities operating in Florida, writing over $189 billion in premium in 2019, the most recently published annual report shows.

The insurance commissioner is required by law to — within the decade prior to being named commissioner — have had at least five years of experience in the private insurance industry or at least five years of experience as a senior examiner or regulator at a state or federal agency having responsibility over insurers or insurance agencies.

Altmaier is just the second person to serve as the state’s insurance commissioner since the OIR was placed in the DFS. He replaced longtime insurance commissioner Kevin McCarty who was forced to resign by then-Gov. Rick Scott.

Scott and then-CFO Jeff Atwater could not agree on a replacement for McCarty. Altmaier, who had been serving as Deputy Commissioner for Property and Casualty Insurance, was the sole candidate the two politicians could agree upon and he ultimately was approved by the Cabinet, sitting as the Financial Services Commission.

The three resignations at the OIR come weeks before a new lobbying ban kicks in and prevents Florida’s top regulators and agency secretaries from lobbying the Florida Legislature, or the offices they once worked at, for six years. 

Currently, Florida law precludes former executives from lobbying the agencies they served and the executive office for two years. The ban doesn’t apply to lobbying the Florida Legislature.

Meanwhile, Reilly has headed the state insurance unit regulating licensed life and health care plans. The unit reviews all life and health policy rates and forms and also conducts examinations and investigations into business practices and alleged statutory violations. According to a state website, Reilly was hired in 2008 and earned about $137,000 annually.

His arrival at Oscar Health comes as the plan announced it was cutting open enrollment in Florida from the federal health insurance exchange two days before the end of the open enrollment period.

In third-quarter filings with the SEC, the company said it had “proactively engaged CMS regarding options to manage membership growth to a level at the end of the 2023 Open Enrollment Period that enables us to prudently manage capital.”

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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