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Insurance and Banking Regulators Appointed

1/9/2003

Contact:
Tami Torres
850-413-2842


TALLAHASSEE – The Florida Financial Services Commission today announced its choices to head up the regulation of the state's banking and insurance industries. The commission, made up of the governor and Cabinet, approved the appointment of Don Saxon as director of the Office of Financial Institutions and Securities Regulation (OFISR). The commission also appointed Kevin McCarty as director of the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR) for a period of 90 days.

"Don Saxon brings a solid background and real world experience to the position of director of financial institutions and securities regulation. In addition, Kevin McCarty will do well as the director for insurance regulation and provide continuity within the new department of financial services," said Governor Jeb Bush, head of the Financial Services Commission.

"These highly qualified regulatory executives will serve the commission and the people of Florida well," said Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, who serves on the Financial Services Commission.

Saxon, who was formerly the director of the Division of Securities and Finance under the Department of Banking and Finance (DBF), has been involved with banking and securities regulation since 1981. As director of the OFISR, Saxon will be responsible for monitoring securities brokers, finance companies, and for regulating and authorizing state-chartered banks.

Saxon has also served as Assistant Director of DBF's Division of Securities and Investor Protection and Director of DBF's Division of Investigations.

McCarty, who had been serving as Deputy Insurance Commissioner, has more than ten years of experience in insurance regulation. As director of the OIR, he will be responsible for handling insurance rate filings and company requests for licenses to sell insurance in Florida.

McCarty has also served as Deputy Director of the Division of Insurer Services, under the Department of Insurance, and was an analyst for the Department of Labor and Employment Security, providing expertise in the area of workers' compensation law. McCarty holds a law degree from the University of Florida (1986) and is a member of the Governor's Commission on Workers' Compensation Reform and the NAIC Committee on the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

Due to the limited number of qualified applicants with state and federal regulatory experience, the Financial Services Commission decided to appoint McCarty on an interim basis – 90 days – while they re-conduct a national search. Commission members also agreed that future applicants should have at least two years of regulatory experience in a state or federal agency to qualify for the job. Current law states that applicants for the Office of Insurance Regulation must have five years of regulatory experience in a state or federal agency or five years of experience in the private sector in the insurance industry.

"My goal is to make sure that we have a robust insurance market in this state, and I look forward to seeing a large pool of high-caliber applicants for this position in the next round," Bush said.

Saxon and McCarty will report directly to the Financial Services Commission, and their offices will be administratively housed in the Department of Financial Services. The salary range for the appointed regulators is $73,000 to $149,000 and will be set at the next Cabinet meeting scheduled for January 28.

The appointments are a result of governance changes due to a constitutional amendment, approved by voters in 1998, which merged the offices of State Treasurer, who also served as insurance commissioner, with the Comptroller, who headed up the Department of Banking and Finance. The Florida Legislature was responsible for determining how the banking and insurance industries would be regulated.

Last year, legislators approved a system in which appointed professionals oversee the insurance industry, including approval of rate increases, and financial institutions, including state-chartered banks, credit unions and securities brokers. The individuals appointed today are the first to serve in these new positions.

The legislature placed the remaining duties of the departments of Insurance and Banking & Finance under the new Department of Financial Services, headed by Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher. These duties include monitoring insurance agents and assisting consumers with complaints or concerns regarding a variety of financial services, including insurance. For more information, see the department's January 7, 2003, news release. The new directors' resumes can be found on the department's new website at www.fldfs.com.