NU Online News Service, Jan. 5, 3:51 p.m. EST

Texas Insurance Commissioner Mike Geeslin said he is stepping down effective Feb. 1.

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, new Gov. Scott Walker appointed Ted Nickel commissioner of insurance.

Commissioner Geeslin sent a letter to Texas Gov. Rick Perry and asked that he not be reappointed, saying that “it is time for someone else to lead.”

Commissioner Geeslin was appointed commissioner in June 2005. He has worked for the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) for eight years. He said he does not have any immediate future plans.

“We certainly wish Commissioner Geeslin all the best in his future endeavors,” said Mark Hanna, spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas. “His successor will soon find out that holding the position of Texas Insurance Commissioner is one of the most difficult and demanding jobs in state government.”

In his letter to the governor, Commissioner Geeslin said the Texas market has grown from $78 billion in 2005 to $102 billion. During his time as commissioner, TDI survived two sunset reviews, responded to major hurricanes, merged the workers’ compensation and insurance agencies, and implemented new regulatory structures and laws.

TDI also resolved consumers’ complaints that resulted in $220 million in recoveries, and took action against insurers and other regulated entities in excess of $800 million. More than $600 million of that is attributed to homeowners rate actions, he said.

Mr. Nickel formally worked as director of governmental and regulatory affairs for Merrill, Wisc.-based Church Mutual. Prior to Church Mutual, Mr. Nickel worked in former Gov. Tommy Thompson’s administration.

Gov. Walker also named Dan Schwartzer as deputy commissioner.