Sean Shaw: End Cabinet monopoly, save the insurance regulator

Apparently, not even the Florida Constitution can save Kevin McCarty.

He’s an insurance regulator in a sinkhole of Tallahassee politics.

Here’s what we know about Kevin McCarty – Gov. Rick Scott is finished with him. He doesn’t want McCarty to regulate the insurance industry any longer.

Sean Shaw
Sean Shaw

This week, after three weeks of stalling and avoiding reporters, Scott’s office finally confessed to requesting a resume and an interview from Ron Henderson, a deputy in Louisiana state government – all under the radar.

Here’s the problem. It’s not Rick Scott’s decision – or the decision of one of his leading campaign fundraisers and insurance industry lobbyists. The Florida Cabinet and the governor jointly appoint our insurance commissioner.

There is more you need to know about Kevin McCarty.

He has served our state since 2003.

He’s weathered hurricanes, insurance company bullying, detrimental giveaways passed by the Legislature, sinkholes and plenty more real hazards. And he is recognized nationally as one of the best insurance commissioners in the country.

I worked with McCarty while I was Florida’s insurance consumer advocate.

He was fair, intelligent and exceptionally insightful when dealing with complex insurance issues facing our beautiful but often tumultuous state.

We didn’t always agree with each other. My job was to get the best deal and coverage for policyholders, and his job was, and still is, to make sure we have a stable insurance market. And he is doing the best he can under the circumstances.

But, then again, so was our state’s top law independent enforcement officer. And we now know that Rick Scott and his staff misled the Florida Cabinet to orchestrate a forced resignation— an apparent violation of the Florida Constitution.

The good news is that our Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam have finally begun to emerge from their corners in what has up to now been more of a Co-Sign Cabinet.

Atwater has called for voiding the law enforcement takedown by Scott and opening a legitimate search. He’s right. And he should keep leading the Florida Cabinet.

Atwater, Putnam, and Attorney General Pam Bondi should call for an independent investigation into the multiple corruptions of the Florida Cabinet’s duties.

They should refuse to remove Kevin McCarty as insurance commissioner.

They should act like independently elected statewide officials – not part of Rick Scott’s corporate monopoly of state government.

It’s what the Florida Constitution intended.

And while the words in the Florida Constitution can’t save Kevin McCarty alone, they can with a little independence and leadership from its friends in the Florida Cabinet.

Sean Shaw is a former Florida Insurance Consumer Advocate and is currently the leader of the Policyholders of Florida and an attorney at the Merlin Law Group. Column courtesy of Context Florida.

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