Hunter.JPGAnyone who expected fireworks yesterday had to be disappointed after J. Robert Hunter, insurance director of the Consumer Federation of America (better known as the man insurers love to hate) walked into the lion’s den for a Town Hall meeting during the annual conference of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America in Washington. The debate was way too civilized, tame and even polite for a journalist’s tastes, although Mr. Hunter managed to get in a few good shots. Actually, I had a lot more fun sparring with Mr. Hunter over lunch earlier in the day, where we met face to face for the first time.

You might disagree with Mr. Hunter, but I defy anyone to say he is ever dull. Indeed, one of the Town Hall panelists–Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D., a former president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners–captured him perfectly by characterizing Bob as a “provocateur extraordinaire.” (“That’s his strength and contribution,” said Rep. Pomeroy. “He raises important issues and tough questions and forces you to respond.”)

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