Collision repair industry professional and advocate, Mike Causey, has officially filed to run for Insurance Commissioner in North Carolina on the 2016 ballot. If Causey wins the Republican primary on March 15, he will advance to the general election, slated for November 8.
He's encouraging collision repair professionals to support his campaign; the appeal on his website stating, "We need to break the Commissioner's iron-grip control over our outdated insurance department and modernize it to better serve North Carolina consumers. It's time North Carolina had an Insurance Commissioner that doesn't play politics and reflects the conservative values and principles of most North Carolinians."
As a small businessman with 25 years in the insurance industry, Causey identifies as a "man of the people," claiming "it's not about status or fame. I truly care about North Carolina and want to make a difference." His campaign platform is geared towards increasing competition in North Carolina's insurance industry, reducing consumer frustration with insurance claims, making the Insurance Commissioner's office more accessible to consumers, and reforming the outdated Rate Bureau.
In regards to the lack of competition in North Carolina insurance industry, Causey explains that the "lack of competition drives insurance premiums higher and higher. As Insurance Commissioner, I will work to bring more insurance companies into NC and give all North Carolinians more choices and lower premium choices. Saving money on business insurance premiums and other insurance premiums will help."
When asked how he would reduce consumer frustrations with claims, Causey said he feels that the insurance industry needs to be more responsive and transparent in how they deal with consumers' insurance claims. His plans include requiring insurers to respond as quickly as possible, but he would require a response within seven business days from the time the insurer receives the claim or complaint. Additionally, Causey says he "will work to simplify the language in insurance policies, to the extent legally possible, and implement Plain Talk Policies that will make it easier for consumers to understand their policies. Right now, insurance policies are more complicated than IRS forms, and they are very frustrating to most people."
Causey also feels it is imperative to make the Insurance Commissioner's office more accessible to consumers by enhancing customer service. "We want to make it known to the public that any person with a concern or complaint will receive immediate help from the Department of Insurance staff, manager or commissioner if necessary."
Currently, North Carolina is the only state that still has a Rate Bureau which stifles free enterprise and causes consumers to suffer by paying more for bad drivers. Since many insurance experts believe that completely dismantling the Rate Bureau in favor of a free market would be disruptive to insurance markets and possibly harm consumers.
Causey suggested, "Having a two-tier system with an opt-out provision for the Rate Bureau would provide an acceptable solution, a win-win situation. We'd begin by giving insurers an 'opt-out' choice to leave the Rate Bureau and set their own rates, subject to free market rules and oversight from the Insurance Commissioner. That would allow those insurance companies not under the Rate Bureau to offer more discounts, special services and options to the people of North Carolina, like what is offered in other states. Those insurance companies that like the guarantees of the NC Rate Bureau could continue as they have been, but this approach would immediately increase competition and encourage more insurance companies to enter the North Carolina marketplace."