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Wednesday, 05 August 2015 22:24

Mike Chaney Defeats John Mosley in GOP Insurance Primary

Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney likely secured another term on August 4, defeating Clinton businessman John Mosley in the Republican primary.

Chaney and Mosley men had sparred over insurers’ ability to dictate vehicle repairs at body shops. Mosley, whose family started Clinton Body Shop almost 40 years ago, said a series of complaints he and other body shop owners had taken to Chaney’s office regarding insurance companies moving the target as to what they would and would pay for was the primary reason he ran to unseat the incumbent.

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Mike Chaney

Mississippi's Incumbent Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney

The Clarion-Ledger

 

Neither returned cell phone messages on the night of August 4.

Mosley’s crusade began right after a 2013 hailstorm did millions of dollars in damage to vehicles and buildings in the Jackson area. Insurers were less than clear about what repair procedures were covered, Mosley said, an issue he took to Chaney in a meeting attended by representatives of State Farm Insurance, the company Mosley labeled as the worst offender.

The summit seemed to iron out the issues, but it wasn’t long before the insurer reverted. Making the problem worse was insurers’ ignoring an opinion from Attorney General Jim Hood that Mosley said affirmed his position.

Chaney countered with data his office gathered after the hailstorm that showed that, out of 100,000 claims filed (about 60,000 of which were for automobiles) a total of “50 or 60” complaints arose, all filed by three body shops, he said. He said last week that further investigation into the issue was a possibility, but any inquiry would not start until after Tuesday’s primary.

Who did and did not appear on the candidates’ campaign finance reports became an issue, too. Mosley said he would not accept contributions from the insurance industry because he questioned the ethics behind money given by those the commissioner would regulate.

“How can it not?” Mosley responded when a reporter asked if he thought Chaney was influenced by insurers’ donations. I see that campaign contribution, what am I going to think? That cloud of doubt is hanging there.”

Chaney said he regulates the industry “with a pretty strong hand. Most of mine comes from agents who have a vested interest in rates not going up. For 35 years, Mosley’s run a body shop, and most of his money comes from payments to consumers from insurance companies to get their cars fixed. So indirectly, he’s getting insurance money.”

Chaney did not respond to a cell phone message on the night of August 4.

Mosley said on that night if he had it to do over again, he would have started his campaign earlier. He announced his run in February.

“I ran hard and talked about the issues. I congratulate him and these issues I brought up are issues that affect everybody in Mississippi. I’ll be right back four years from now if things don’t change.”

 

We would like to thank The Clarion-Ledger for reprint permission.

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