The resignation of South Carolina’s insurance director, Eleanor Kitzman, and the subsequent appointment of State Sen. Scott Richardson, R-Beaufort, shouldn’t impact the state’s burgeoning captive department, according to the governor’s office, although one captive expert cited concerns over a “lack of political stability” in the state.
“Captives is one area [Ms. Kitzman] has done a particularly good job, and that’s a focus we expect to continue through the new administration of the department,” Joel Sawyer, press secretary to Republican Gov. Mark C. Sanford, told National Underwriter.
Mr. Sawyer continued that the state is facing some “real challenges with regard to coastal insurance right now, largely due to Hurricane Katrina and the effect it’s had on the insurance market in every coastal state.”
Mr. Richardson’s focus as insurance director, he said, will be on coastal insurance. He added that “between where he’s from, his private-sector experience and his time in the legislature, he brought a really unique skill-set to this position that’s going to be particularly key to addressing the challenges we’re facing with regard to coastal insurance.”
Sen. Richardson’s appointment is pending Senate confirmation, the department said, noting that Ms. Kitzman would remain with the agency for an interim period.
Mr. Richardson was elected to the State Senate in 2000, and previously served in the House from 1993 through 1996. At one time, he worked as an insurance sales associate for Carswell of Carolina Insurance Agency in Hilton Head. He currently works with Sea Pines Real Estate and resides on Hilton Head Island. In the Senate, he serves on the Finance Committee and the Banking and Insurance Committee.
Michael R. Mead, president of Meeting Street Management, LLC, in Charleston, S.C., which manages captives domiciled in South Carolina, said that while he doesn’t see “any impact” on the state’s captive department, “it does indicate a potential lack of political stability” in the state.
Ms. Kitzman founded Driver’s Choice Insurance Services, a South Carolina auto insurance organization, and held management positions with several insurers and reinsurers, according to the Department of Insurance Web site.
Ms. Kitzman was appointed in February 2005, replacing Ernst Csiszar, who was credited with developing the captive industry in the state.
During her appointment, she reorganized the department, moving the Alternative Risk Transfer Services Division to the Financial Services Division, and appointed Jeff Kehler as program manager for ARTS, replacing Leslie Jones. Ms. Jones assumed a new position as executive assistant and consulting actuary.
Mr. Mead said he believes the captive department is “stable.” He noted that “Jeff is doing a good job there. They’ve spent some money, added staff, and I think they’ve made a lot of progress under Jeff. So we’re not expecting any big changes in the captive arena.”
Gov. Sanford said in a statement, “While Eleanor has certainly done a lot of good things at the Department of Insurance–particularly with regard to the captives industry–when you look at the situation that has developed for all of U.S. coastal insurance as a result of Hurricane Katrina, we thought Scott would bring a skill-set to the position key to addressing that situation.”