Friday, December 30, 2011


A Tale of Two Domiciles...Revisted

We suggested a narrative earlier this year that two southern captive insurance domiciles would be worth watching to compare and contrast based on insurance commissioner appointments in each state. Let’s review.

The captive industry in South Carolina fell on hard times during the regime of Insurance Commissioner Scott Richardson who left office at the end of 2010. When newly-elected Governor Nikki Haley named David Black as his replacement in February, this blog reflected the puzzlement expressed by many industry and political insiders.

Mr. Black was a largely unknown quantity aside from being the CEO of an inconsequential life insurance company.

But the sparse resume and lack of ART industry credentials didn’t deter Governor Haley from appointing Mr. Black and pronouncing him as a savior. Consider her comments when naming him to the position where she said “Understanding the importance of your industry, I chose David Black to lead the Department of Insurance. He has the energy and capability to revitalize the captive industry for our state.”

As it turned out, he had neither

Earlier this week, Mr. Black abruptly announced his resignation to his staff via e-mail giving no specific reason for his decision.

So now Governor Haley has a chance for a second bite of the apple to get it right. This means naming someone to the position who is willing and capable to shake up the bureaucracy within the department and establish a firewall between the regulation of traditional insurance companies and alternative risk transfer programs, as originally envisioned by former commissioner Ernie Csiszar more than a decade ago.

A tall order for sure and we’ll be watching.

A very different story continues to play out in nearby Tennessee where Governor Bill Haslam tapped Julie Mix McPeak to head up the insurance department in that state.

This blog noted that Ms. McPeak had both the credentials and reputation to turn heads within the ART marketplace when word of her appointment surfaced. But her future success was not assured.

The first order of business as it related to the ART industry was to shepherd a bill through the Legislature that made comprehensive updates to the state’s captive statute. This effort proved more difficult than expected but Ms. McPeak was up to the task and that legislation, which she helped draft, was signed into law.

Since that development, she has been working methodically to assemble a top notch regulatory team and now most of the key positions have been filled and she introduced these individuals at an industry event earlier this month.

So armed with a progressive captive stature and a regulatory team inspired to transform Tennessee into a premiere captive insurance domicile, the stage has now been set for her to make it happen.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves as there are certain to be pitfalls ahead as the domicile finds its footing under Ms. McPeak’s leadership in 2012. That said, the fact that leadership is on display is certainly refreshing for those vested in the growth of the ART marketplace.

This tale of two domiciles will continue.

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