NU Online News Service, Nov. 16, 2:36 p.m. EST

The Connecticut Insurance Department’s director of consumer services has been appointed as acting insurance commissioner.

A letter from Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s office confirmed that Barbara C. Spear, who has been with the insurance department since 2008, was given the title effective Nov. 12–the same day Thomas Sullivan resigned from the post.

Mr. Sullivan said he was moving on to a job at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Hartford.

Ms. Spear, who came to the department from the Hartford Financial Services Co. in April 2008, will also keep her title as director of consumer services.

Governor-elect Dan Malloy will ultimately choose a permanent insurance commissioner.

The interim appointment comes at a critical time for Connecticut as a public hearing is scheduled for a proposed 20 percent rate hike by Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. The hearing is scheduled for Nov. 17, but Attorney General and Senator-elect Richard Blumenthal has called for a delay.

Mr. Blumenthal claims the insurer has failed to submit critical evidence and that the hearing will be “a mirage” if the department does not first analyze all the facts.

Mr. Blumenthal said the hearing must be delayed because a review of missing evidence could not be completed by Wednesday. “Anthem has a moral, if not legal, obligation to justify this extraordinary policy price increase,” he said.