Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Clock Ticking: Less Than Two Days For Open Enrollment in Medicare Part D for 2010

Earlier this month I posted the item at this link.

Now less than two days remain for open enrollment for Medicare Part D for the 2010 year.

Go to tonight's WRAL-TV coverage on the same subject at this link here, and be sure to spread the word today among your senior friends, loved ones, and caregivers of loved ones.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Fights Fraud, Saves Consumers Cash

As 2009 and the first year of his administration come to a close, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and his team of law enforcement officers continue to fight fraud and root out lawbreakers and scofflaws. Read about the latest arrests and charges here, here, and here. Other crime-fighting activities are documented in earlier posts on this blog.

The Department of Insurance employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. So far in 2009, these criminal investigators have seen more than 241 cases successfully closed with more than $9.7 million in restitution and recoveries, 67 criminal convictions and 123 arrests and 92 cases pending in court.

An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division at 919-807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at www.ncdoi.com.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin: On Balancing Motherhood and Public Service

Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin, as readers of "Wayne's World" and other news posts recall from last year, was the first North Carolina legislator to give birth while serving in the General Assembly. This development led to some changes in the legislature itself at the Legislative Building in Raleigh. Watch this five-minute video here - recorded just a few weeks ago - on how she balanced motherhood and public service. ... On a related note, Melanie's excellent service to the State and in her own community in myriad ways led her to being named last week the recipient of the 2009 Richmond County Citizen of the Year, the county's highest honor.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Rep. Melanie Wade Goodwin: Named "Richmond County Citizen of the Year"!

I am so proud of Melanie!

She juggles - and always has, ever since we first met - so many things so well: Mother, wife, daughter, aunt, friend, officer of the court, businesswoman, lawyer, State legislator, Junior Woman's Club president, civic leader, Democratic Party leader, advocate for women's rights, supporter of the arts, active United Methodist, staunch UNC-Chapel Hill alumna, a capella vocalist, promoter of Richmond County motorsports, etc., etc., etc. ... She truly amazes me!

Melanie is an inspiration and a phenomenal role model for our seven-year-old daughter, Madison, and for other young women. (Of course, I'm naturally biased on this point. But, hey, I ought to know, right? Facts are facts.)

To learn more and read about her selection by the Richmond County Chamber of Commerce, click on this link. Melanie received the surprising news of her nomination and selection while waiting for our daughter at the school bus stop several days ago. Here is an excerpt from the Richmond County Daily Journal:

“I had no idea I’d been nominated, I was absolutely speechless when she called,” Goodwin said. “I am honored beyond words and deeply humbled that I would have been nominated and selected.” ...

Since making her home in Richmond County Goodwin has served as president of the Democratic Women of Richmond County, president of the Richmond County Junior Women’s Club, served on the Arts Council board, First United Methodist Church women’s circle, served on the founding board of the Christian Closet, was vice chair of what is now New Horizons and was a board of commissioners appointee to the Sandhills Area Mental Health Board.

“When I opened my practice in Hamlet after finishing law school, my husband was in the state house and he loved the community and I wanted to learn about and become a part of it,” Goodwin explained. “The best way to do that was to get involved with as many things as possible and it quickly became my home.”

“This is a great place to be and raise a family,” she added. “There are a lot of wonderful things about Richmond County. People here are good people. I’ve been proud to serve them in whatever capacity.”

Goodwin has served in the N.C. House of Representatives for three terms and she [said] the experience has opened her eyes.

“My time in the House has enlarged my view of the people and the human condition,” she said. “It’s helped me empathize with people across the district who don’t have the same life situations as I do. It’s helped me advocate for those without a voice in the political process and it’s been an incredible experience that has absolutely changed my life.”

In 2007 Goodwin made the biggest jump in effectiveness in the state house and moved up from 73rd to 31st.

Goodwin said she’s not sure what she’ll do when her term is up, but that she’ll likely find something to get involved in.

“I’m sure I’ll find another cause to embrace and opportunity to advocate,” she said. “Even before law school I’ve always been a woman’s advocate and have always been passionate about that. I’m sure I’ll find something.”

Goodwin said she’s not sure who nominated her, but she’s incredibly honored.

“It’s such a tremendous honor for a community I care about so much and have invested so much of myself in,” Goodwin said.

In a press release from the chamber, board of director’s chairman Marchell Adams-David said, “Melanie has worked tirelessly for the betterment of our community during her tenure in the N.C. House. Her tenacity and work ethic is to be applauded, and what a wonderful way for our community to say thank you to her for her years of dedicated public service.”
The recognition ceremony will take place next month, at 6:30 pm on January 28th, at Cole Auditorium, Richmond Community College campus, in Hamlet, North Carolina.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't Unwrap A Holiday Hazard This Christmas, Says Insurance Commissioner Goodwin

Emergency rooms see approximately 217,000 toy-related injuries each year. But the good news is tragedies from toys are most often injuries and not deaths. On average, only 15 children younger than 14 die from toy-related injuries each year according to Safe Kids USA. Choking on small parts is the most frequent cause of toy-related death.

"This holiday season, parents and caregivers should keep toy safety at the top of their shopping list," said Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids N.C. State Chair, Wayne Goodwin. "Remind grandparents and other gift-givers that the right toy must be age-appropriate."

Toy Safety Tips

Stay up-to-date on toy recalls; sign up for e-mail alerts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site.

If you buy or receive second-hand toys, check the CPSC's Web site to see if they are recalled.

Buy only age-appropriate toys. Toys with small parts (should be clearly marked) are not safe for children under 3.

Don't allow children under 3 to play with toys that belong to an older sibling and have small parts.

If you aren't sure whether a small part is a choking hazard, place the part into an empty toilet paper roll. If it fits, the toy is not safe for small children.

Always remove and discard the packaging from a toy before giving it to a baby or small child.

Check old and new toys regularly for damage such as sharp edges or small broken parts. Make any repairs or throw away the damaged toy.

Always supervise children at play.

Remember the number of toys recalled is a fraction of the 3 billion toys sold in the United States every year. Most toys on the market are considered safe and with some supervision and attention to age restrictions, everyone can have a safe and happy holiday season.

Safe Kids N.C. reaches out to parents, caregivers and children in 58 counties served by 36 coalitions across the state. Through these coalitions and partnerships, more than 6 million people have access to Safe Kids N.C. programming.

For more information, visit the Safe Kids NC Web site at either here or www.ncsafekids.org.

"Don't unwrap a holiday hazard," said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. "Play it safe and smart by protecting kids from dangerous toys."

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Urgent Message for North Carolina Medicare Recipients: Deadline Nears to Change Your Rx Plan

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin wants to remind the state's 1.3 million Medicare recipients that the Medicare Part D annual election period started Nov. 15, and will continue through the end of this year.

"The enrollment period has begun, so now Medicare recipients have approximately three more weeks to review their current coverage and make a decision about which plan to choose for the upcoming year," said Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "North Carolinians have many prescription drug plans from which to choose - so many in fact, that the decision-making process can be daunting. Before you make any changes, call SHIIP at the Department of Insurance. We can help you understand your options."
The Department's SHIIP Division, or the Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program, employs trained staff who can answer questions about Medicare Part D.

Commissioner Goodwin also reminds Medicare recipients that financial assistance with Medicare Part D expenses may be available. "North Carolina has more than 80,000 people on Medicare who could be receiving Medicare's Low-Income Subsidy (Extra Help Program) benefits, but have not yet signed up. My staff at SHIIP can help you determine if you're eligible for this extra help and assist you in the application process. Call SHIIP today."

For the coming year, North Carolina will have 47 prescription drug plans (PDPs) available to Medicare beneficiaries, and 20 companies will administer the plans. Some existing plans also have changed their prescription formularies, monthly premiums and deductibles. [Click here for a link to the chart of the most current Part D companies and PDPs.]

For questions about Medicare Part D's annual election period, PDPs or other Medicare products, call SHIIP at 1-800-443-9354 or visit the SHIIP Web site.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Prevent Strokes, Save Lives: Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and DOI Honor Memory of Jim Long

Your North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) is supporting Rex Healthcare's Red Tie Campaign to prevent stroke. This campaign is in memory of former Insurance Commissioner Jim Long. Please take a moment to read through the Red Tie Campaign website and tell your family and friends about how to prevent stroke! The link is here.

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin on November 19, a day he declared as "Red Tie Day", led a large band of NCDOI employees during a walk to support the Rex Healthcare Red Tie Campaign to prevent stroke. Employees wore red in memory of Jim Long, who was known for wearing a red tie.

"Jim Long's public life was all about 'teaching moments.' Whether it was with the Safe Kids program, the Seniors Health Insurance Information Program, the Office of State Fire Marshal or a myriad of others, he zeroed in on real-life ways to help people. Even with his unfortunate and unexpected passing, another 'teaching moment' emerged, this time so that many others could be aware of the symptoms of stroke and learning early on how to prevent the number one cause of death among adults," said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Tony Rand Brought Rock-and-Roll to Rockingham

Persons interested in North Carolina politics have been all abuzz over the last two weeks about the surprise decision of Senate Majority Leader and uber-lawmaker Tony Rand to retire.

Equally surprising – and yet still related to Senator Rand – is the most common reason for visitors to my Wayne’s World blog over the last year, including as recently as yesterday.

Specifically, these Internet guests from around the globe (including Japan, Norway and Australia) all want to read about the legendary Rockingham Peachtree Rock Festival held in Richmond County, North Carolina at the North Carolina Motor Speedway.

By popular demand and in light of Senator Rand’s decision to retire, here is the link to my original post from more than two years ago.

Perhaps Wayne’s World will hear from more personages - including the General Assembly’s own
Gerry Cohen, a commenter to the 2007 post – who fondly remember the occasion.

Of course, in light of the “haze” that settled over the Rockingham speedway before, during and after the mega-concert, many more guests may not recall anything at all. And for good reason.

And that doesn’t count the streakers.

Remember, it was the early ‘70s. Folks did that a lot back then.

I’m sure that all the attendees and the historic performers from North Carolina’s own version of Woodstock wish to thank Tony Rand of Cumberland County who, years before his entry into legislative politics, brought rock-and-roll to Rockingham. We haven’t been the same since.

Goodwin Appoints New Members to FAIR, Beach Plan Boards: First African-American Female, First Native American and Lumbee Join Board

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced his appointment of five new members to the N.C. Joint Underwriting Association and the N.C. Insurance Underwriting Association, better known as the FAIR and Beach plans, respectively.

"I’m proud to announce the new appointees to the FAIR and Beach plan boards, and to bring a new level of diversity and expertise to each board,” said Commissioner Goodwin. “I’m confident that both the new and the existing board members will serve the citizens of North Carolina well and provide new perspective.”

Goodwin was especially pleased to accomplish several firsts with these appointments: Melanie Cook of Wilmington, Executive Director of Coastal Carolina Tomorrow, is the first African-American; Lumbee Tribal Chairman Jimmy Goins of Red Springs is the first Native American. Joining them are members who are also the most geographically diverse in many years. These are Goodwin’s first appointees since election last year.

The other new appointees of the Commissioner are: UNC Law School Professor Donald Hornstein, and insurance agents Rod Evans, Richard Heckle, and Murray White, III.

Learn more about all five appointees here at this link.

The Commissioner of Insurance is responsible for naming seven public members for each 14-member board; the insurance industry names the remaining seven members on each board. Of the seven appointees by the Commissioner, State law requires that four of them be insurance agents.

The FAIR and Beach Plans provide property insurance to North Carolinians who are not able to purchase it through traditional insurance markets. The FAIR Plan provides coverage in the coastal areas and the western 82 counties, and the Beach Plan covers 18 coastal counties and barrier islands. The members of one board are alternates with the other board. The General Assembly, as was the case with many states back then, created these board 40 years ago.

During the recent legislative session the General Assembly re-named the Beach Plan and enacted wide-ranging reforms in House Bill 1305. Instead of "the Beach Plan," the organization or program is now to be known as the “Coastal Property Insurance Pool.”

The new Board members took their positions immediately after last week's annual meeting.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Urges Citizens to Prevent Flu

Because it is an excellent safety precaution that saves lives and keeps insurance costs down, North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance Wayne Goodwin this past week received both his seasonal flu vaccine and also the H1N1 vaccine.

"Stay healthy, protect yourself and your family, and fight the flu before you get it," said Goodwin.

He also urged kids and adults alike to wash hands very frequently and thoroughly, to keep your hands away from your eyes and nose, and to sneeze into the bend of one's arm or otherwise cover one's mouth.

"It doesn't take a shot in the arm - in my case, one in each arm - to know how important it is to protect your health."

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chris Heagarty: From Advocate Frying Pan Into the Legislative Fire

It is an unusual set of recent circumstances for my good friend, Chris Heagarty of Raleigh.

For many years he has been a citizen leader advocating for campaign finance reforms and election law changes.

As Executive Director of the North Carolina Center of Voter Education (also known as "The Center" or "NCCVE") for seven years, Chris played a large role in advocating for and recommending substantial improvements to the state's election laws. Unlike some folks currently involved on those subjects, his efforts predate and were bolstered by the various scandals involving Meg Scott Phipps, Jim Black, Frank Ballance, and Thomas Wright.

Among the changes Chris advocated for were:

- greater transparency in campaign reporting
- State-published voter guides mailed to households statewide
- an emphasis on legislative and candidate ethics

as well as

- the nationally-recognized and much-lauded public finance system option for judicial elections and several Council of State posts, experiments that have proven successful, by the way.

To accomplish these feats he was a daily fixture among the Honorables down on Jones Street and sometimes in other settings such as in the courts or speaking at rallies or in press conferences.

Every waking day Chris focused his energy and zeal toward educating voters and encouraging more citizens to be active and engaged in the political process, no matter their party preference.

Chris also focused on voter registration and establishing a partnership with UNC-TV public television so that candidate fora could be broadcast statewide and greater links to information for voters about issues and campaigns could be created.

After taking an almost three year sabbatical in law school, Chris witnessed yet another lawmaker and public official ousted by a serious pattern of major campaign finance violations. This time, though, it was his own State Representative in the North Carolina General Assembly and it was personal.

Chris decided to put theory into practice -- to walk the walk and not just talk the talk: He decided to throw his own hat into the ring for the seat.

After a deftly-organized and successful campaign effort among those persons authorized to select and recommend a replacement in the House seat, Governor Bev Perdue appointed Heagarty to the post last week.

Chris joins the legislature at an awkward time in some respects. It's between sessions, he has to file for election almost immediately, and he is in a swing district that could make the difference in whether the Democrats retain the majority in the House or not. And, on top of that, we're in the midst of the worst economy in 70 years.

But he also faces some high expectations: Chris, as the knight who fought many a battle royale on the outside for clean elections and public financing and good government, is now on the inside and is expected to continue his crusade.

I trust he will prevail, and am very proud of my friend who has chosen this new means of engaging civic participation.

After all, I've personally had the benefit of watching him in action before,
during and after my own years as State Representative. Chris is well-respected
by legislators and folks all across party lines, and is a trusted, hard-working, ready-to-serve advocate well-versed in constituent service and the bedrock
principles of the Democratic Party. In my opinion, he will be an immediately
effective legislator for District 41.

Congratulations, Representative Chris Heagarty!

Fighting Fraud is a Full-Time Job, Says Insurance Commissioner Goodwin

Fighting fraud is a full-time job itself, says North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin.

As an update to an item referenced in a previous post on Wayne's World here, last night NBC-17 News in Raleigh aired a story about the recent horrific Smithfield embezzlement case and how one of the fourteen victims identified to date has been effected.

Furthermore, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin shared with the audience several tips on how to prevent being defrauded by insurance agents, investment advisers and others who offer to help manage your economic security.

As reported by NBC-17:
"The North Carolina Department of Insurance Criminal Investigations Division, which is investigating Hall, has more fraud cases than ever before, according to Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. [He] attributes it to the high unemployment rate.

'Fraud comes in many forms. And one thing which I have learned is that it can happen to anybody,' he said.

But Goodwin offers tips on how you can protect yourself:

-Always get a second opinion
-Ask family members to help with background checks
-Check out companies with the Department of Insurance
-Always ask brokers for verification and statements
-Never sign blank forms
-Never pay in cash for premiums
-And keep every record.

'I don't want to discourage people from developing trusting relationships. But you should always, always, when you are talking about your security get as much background information as you can and verify that that trust is warranted,' Goodwin said."
Click here for the link to the NBC-17 news item.

In addition to the high unemployment rate, the Commissioner attributes the spike in attempted and actual fraud to a plethora of causes tied to the dour economy. Among them are also the drop in value of stocks, securities and homes; job losses; the drop in consumer spending; and, the failure of wages generally to keep up with the cost of living.

"Your Insurance Commissioner and your state Department of Insurance are on the job every day fighting scammers, embezzlers, and thieves," said Goodwin. "Ultimately, we root them out, help send them to prison, and seek recovery and restitution for the victims."

In 2009 alone the Department has recovered approximately $10 million for affected individuals and businesses.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Goodwin Orders 9.6 % Cuts in Workers Comp Insurance Rates, Implements Public Comment Period

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced that he has settled the workers compensation rate filings from the North Carolina Rate Bureau, the organization that represents the state's workers compensation insurance companies. The settlement ordered a 9.6 percent decrease to the voluntary market loss costs and no change (zero percent) to the assigned risk markets. The changes are effective April 1, 2010.

"I'm also proud that we were able to implement a public comment period for this filing, and I look forward to continuing this practice for future rate filings that the Department handles," said Commissioner Goodwin.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin's order "is expected to generate more than $119 million in annual savings for the state's employers."

The 9.6 percent decrease, which takes effect in April, follows a 4.4 percent decline this year.The full filings and settlements are available for public review on the Department's Web site. Visit by clicking on this link and search for Serff Tracking numbers NCPC-126289369 and NCPC-126289290.

Goodwin's news complements his earlier feat this year of a significant automobile insurance rate cut that involved a rollback of and freezing of the rates - which saved drivers $450 million - and additional refunds of $50 million.

"I am very pleased with the work of my excellent expert staff, who join me in our ongoing efforts to protect consumers - families and small business owners, in particular - during these challenging economic times," said Goodwin.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Creative Loafing Columnist Compliments Commissioner

John Grooms of the popular Creative Loafing publication in Charlotte surprised me recently. His very kind column, linked here, appeared from out of nowhere, and is the type of pleasant surprise for persons in public service that makes up for many of those days when the burdens of one's job seem extra heavy.
The text appears below:
Amazing – public servant actually serving public
September 28th, 2009 by John Grooms in Boomer with an Attitude

"Many of us have grown so cynical about politics, it’s often just assumed that once politicians get into office, they forget their promises and start figuring out ways to cash in. Which makes news of an elected official doing his/her job — actually being conscientious! — a pleasant surprise. The BlueNC Web site reports on actions by NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin to fight insurance fraud. Not just penny-ante cases, either. Last Tuesday, they arrested the CEO of Pace Airlines for skipping out on his employees’ health insurance plan; and on the same day, they busted Mark Hall, the owner of Market Street Advisors of Smithfield for ripping off $168,000 in life insurance annuities from a 90-year-old woman in Garner. So far this year, Goodwin’s department has successfully prosecuted 67 criminal cases, with over $9.7 million in restitutions and recoveries.

“Oh, that’s it?” you ask. Yep, that’s it, but consider that 10 percent of your insurance premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. Goodwin and his beefed-up crew of investigators are, amazing as it may seem, doing good work for the public good, and they deserve to get credit."
Thank you, Mr. Grooms! The Department of Insurance and I will continue to do our best for North Carolinians from Manteo to Morrisville to Matthews to Murphy.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Launches Effort to Help 80,000 Citizens Obtain Reduced Prescription Drug Costs

Today I had the honor and privilege to join Senior Tar Heel Legislators from across North Carolina and representatives of our 800 volunteers in the SHIIP program in our kick-off to obtain reduced prescription drug costs for 80,000 senior citizens.

Learn more here at this link.

Here is an excerpt:
RALEIGH -- More than 100 seniors pounded the pavement today at a relay event in Raleigh to kickoff a statewide enrollment campaign for Medicare's "Extra Help" low-income subsidy and Medicare Savings Programs that help eligible Medicare recipients pay for their prescription drug coverage and medicines and other Medicare medical coverage.

The campaign called "Relay for Extra Help" encourages Medicare recipients to help each other by relaying the message to their local communities that financial assistance is available - even for those who might not typically receive federal assistance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has identified that North Carolina has more than 80,000 Medicare recipients who potentially qualify for the cost-saving programs, but have not enrolled.

The N.C. Senior Tar Heel Legislators attended a relay event in Raleigh where they agreed to relay the message back to all 100 counties. The Relay for Extra Help campaign's goal is to find and enroll eligible Medicare recipients in either the federal Low-Income Subsidy program that helps pay for Medicare prescription drug coverage and medicines or the Medicare Savings Program that helps pay for Medicare Part A and B premiums.
In remarks to the rally, I exclaimed:

"It's great to have so many seniors here today who are committed to taking the Extra Help message back to their communities," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "North Carolina has more than 80,000 people on Medicare who could be receiving Medicare's Low-Income Subsidy benefits, but have not yet signed up. Our goal is to relay this message to every town in the state, find these folks and get them enrolled so that they can start receiving help paying for their Medicare prescription drug premiums and medicines."

Here is a very short video from today's event, courtesy of Channel 17 in Raleigh. Partners with your Department of Insurance on this endeavor are the NC Department of Health and Human Services and others.

This Relay for Extra Help is a great opportunity for many families. To find out whether you or a loved one is eligible, then please call toll-free 800-443-9354 or visit www.ncshiip.com.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Fights Fraud, Takes Big Bite Out of Crime

Your state Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and his highly-trained, experts at the Department of Insurance have given ample examples of their dedication to stamping out insurance fraud this week.

Just in the last week alone there have been this, this, this, this, and this.

The two most high profile of these have involved the CEO of Pace Airlines and the head of a business accused of swindling a 90-year old woman out of $168,000 and others out of more than $2.5 millions of dollars in savings.

"I'm proud of the quick and thorough work of my investigators in this case," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "The money lost represents the hard work and savings of these honest people; we are doing everything we can to bring justice for them."

The Department of Insurance, through its Criminal Investigations Division, employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud. So far in 2009, these criminal investigators have seen more than 241 cases successfully closed with more than $9.7 million in restitution and recoveries, 67 criminal convictions and 123 arrests and 92 cases pending in court.

An estimated 10 cents of every dollar paid in premiums goes toward the payment of fraudulent claims. To report suspected fraud, contact the Department of Insurance Investigations Division at (919) 807-6840. Callers may remain anonymous. Information is also available at the NC-DOI Web site.

And, to learn of ongoing law enforcement activity by the Department and Commissioner Goodwin, then please subscribe to the following Facebook page here or the RSS feed here.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Kicks Off Child Passenger Safety Week

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, who also is State Fire Marshal and Chairman of the Safe Kids North Carolina organization, helped kick off National Child Passenger Safety Week on Saturday, September 12, in Greensboro. Watch news coverage from TimeWarner NewsChannel 14 here.

Also, read here from Goodwin's press release about why this issue matters and what parents can do to protect their children in car seats.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Western NC Supporters of Insurance Commissioner Goodwin To Hold Asheville Fundraiser, October 2

Western North Carolina supporters of Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin will join him at the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville on Friday, October 2.

The fundraiser begins at 5:30 pm and lasts until 7:30 pm.

Persons interested in being a sponsor of the reception are asked to contribute $250.

Anyone who wishes to attend, but not sponsor, the event are encouraged to donate at least $50.

Feel free to make your contribution securely online by clicking here, or mail your personal check to The Goodwin Committee, P.O. Box 27841,Raleigh, NC 27611.

P.S. If you're unable to attend the Asheville event, then consider attending the Raleigh fundraiser two nights before on Sept 30.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

You're Invited to Help Make Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin's 1st Annual Fall Fundraiser a Success!

You are cordially invited to the



Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009
5:30-7:30 pm

Marriott Center City – Downtown Raleigh
Next to Convention Center

Main Ballroom

Gold: $2,000
Silver: $500
Bronze: $250

General Admission: $100/person

If unable to attend, then please consider a donation of $50 or $25 instead to help Wayne reach his campaign's fundraising goal for the year. Feel free to contribute securely online by clicking here.

Or, make your individual personal check or PAC check (no corporate, NC lobbyist, insurance company/insurance industry, or business checks) out to “The Goodwin Committee”. Please either return your check by mailing to P.O. Box 27841, Raleigh NC 27611 or presenting at the registration table on September 30th.

For more information, go to www.waynegoodwin.org or call (910)997-1301.

Take this opportunity to meet our State's newest Commissioner of Insurance.

And, please spread the word among fellow professionals, friends, and supporters.

Paid for by The Goodwin Committee. Not paid for by government funds or resources.

State Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin Announces That She Will Not Seek a Fourth Term in the NC General Assembly


I have been privileged to have the trust of the people of the 66th House District and serve as their voice in Raleigh since I was first elected in 2004. As everyone knows, my family strongly believes in public service and the obligation each of us has to give back to our communities using our individual gifts and talents.

During my three terms, I have worked tirelessly for improvements to public education, a better court system, targeted economic growth in the District and rural North Carolina, enhanced public safety, and improvements to our elections process.

These goals will continue to have my firm attention and action as I complete my third term, which concludes in December 2010.

However, after much consideration, I have decided not to seek re-election to a fourth term next year.

Making my decision now allows others in Richmond and Montgomery counties who are interested in public service the time to weigh the very sizable commitment of personal and professional time, as well as resources, that it takes to be a member of the North Carolina General Assembly.

My decision also allows me to spend more time with my young children, and to focus on other personal goals and priorities in my life.

It has been a pleasure to serve the many kind, caring, and supportive people of my home. Although we are in the midst of challenging times, I believe that Richmond and Montgomery counties have a very bright future ahead.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to give back and to make a difference.

# # #

Many colleagues, constituents and friends were quite surprised and saddened, yet understanding, of Representative Goodwin's decision.

As reported in the Montgomery Herald:

Economic Development Director Judy Stevens has worked with Goodwin since she was elected and said, “I was sad to hear that Representative Melanie Wade Goodwin has decided not to seek another term in the NC House of Representatives. Melanie has represented the 66th District with distinction. She has always been available, responsive and sensitive to our many needs and requests. We knew we could always count on Melanie to support our efforts to make our county more competitive for economic development. I appreciate her keen interest in service to her constituents and the entire state. She will be missed.”

County Manager Lance Metzler echoed the same sentiments saying, “I can honestly say that I have been in government for over 16 years and I have worked with many senators, representatives, US Congressman and Senators but I have never had any as responsive, kind, caring and reachable as Melanie Wade Goodwin has been. She embraced the community and the community embraced her back. She will be sorely missed representing Montgomery County. Whomever runs for this position will have some mighty big shoes to fill!”

Goodwin has also won the respect of those that have been around the halls of the General Assembly for many years. House Speaker Joe Hackney spoke kindly of Goodwin saying, “She is the ideal citizen-legislator: well connected with her constituents, eager to serve them and trained in the law. And a young mom to boot. I am distressed that she has chosen not to run again.”

Representative Pryor Gibson has worked with Goodwin since she took office. Gibson, a former representative of Montgomery County said, “Rep. Goodwin is a class act and will be hard to follow. She is a tremendous asset to the people of Montgomery and Richmond counties and all of North Carolina. She has that rare talent to listen, sort out complicated issues, and then deliver real solutions. I will miss her and intend to continue seeking her counsel.”

The Richmond County Daily Journal also ran a prominent front-page story.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Helps 661 NC Businesses with $6.5 Million

On the heels of saving an estimated $545 Million for North Carolina drivers, and in an unrelated matter, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has this week distributed refund checks totalling $6.5 Million to 661 North Carolina businesses who had been swindled. To learn more, connect to this link. This is another example of Goodwin's strong consumer protection ethic. "Whether a driver, a parent, a homeowner, or a small business owner, I am fighting for you," he said.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Public financing of statewide campaigns continues to make the news

Readers of "Wayne's World" may be interested in three columns about optional public financing as a campaign finance reform that also referenced my 2008 Insurance Commissioner race.

One of them is an op-ed piece I authored that ran in multiple newspapers statewide, including The Pilot of Southern Pines. For a presentation of my essay that includes video commentary and supporting links, go to this specific Voter Update link here, sponsored by the N.C. Center for Voter Education.

The other is by Chase Foster of N.C. Voters for Clean Elections that appeared in multiple formats, including here at this link. The full version of his article is at this separate link.

And the third is a national column by the organization Public Campaign. The profile piece provides the nuts and bolts difference between my traditional statewide campaign of 2004 and my grassroots, publicly-financed statewide campaign in 2008.

For background on previous coverage and blog posts of this subject, check out these additional links here and here.

All the above is especially relevant in view of pending legislation in the General Assembly to include additional Council of State offices in this voluntary program.

Editor's Note: Blogpost was updated to include recent national column by Public Campaign and the relevant link.

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Rolls Back Auto Insurance Rates, Freezes Them, and Orders Refunds

Goodwin Signs Settlement That Decreases Auto Rates and Freezes Them Until At Least 2011: Approximately One Million Policyholders to Receive Refund Checks Together Totaling more than $50 Million.

July 15, 2009

RALEIGH — Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today signed a settlement with the North Carolina Rate Bureau that will roll back private passenger auto insurance rates to just under 2006 levels; the changes will go into effect on Nov. 1, and are retroactive to Jan. 1.

The North Carolina Rate Bureau (NCRB) is an independent organization that represents all auto insurance companies in the state.

The settlement does away with the NCRB’s implemented 9.4 percent 2008 rate increase and denies their 2009 request for an additional 1.4 percent rate increase and includes an additional .5% decrease. Under the settlement, the NCRB may not file changes to auto rates until 2011, which means that the maximum allowable auto rates are locked in until Oct. 1, 2011 at the earliest. This saves North Carolina policyholders an estimated $545 million over this time period.

“I’m thrilled that North Carolina drivers will see a decrease in their auto insurance rates,” said Commissioner Goodwin. “Drivers will not only see lower rates, but many will also receive refund checks beginning in mid-2010 that may together total more than $50 million. In this economy, every dollar counts, and I am committed to protecting consumers through fair ratemaking.”

The refunds stem from a dispute between the Department and the NCRB over rates ordered in 2008. During the appeals process, the NCRB implemented an interim 9.4 percent rate increase that went into effect on Jan.1 of this year. In cases where insurance companies charged policyholders more than the rates determined by this settlement, insurance companies are required by statute to refund the difference between the rates charged and the settled rates, with interest.

“With this rate rollback, the effect is that I will have capped rates for the five year period spanning from 2006 through 2011,” added Insurance Commissioner Goodwin.

The Department of Insurance has consistently issued small or no rate increases, and in many cases has ordered rate decreases. Combined, this has potentially saved drivers more that $5 billion over the last 25 years.

To learn more about this terrific news for consumers, a sample of TV video and newspaper coverage is here, here, here, here, and here. The Department's official press release is here.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Welcome to Visitors Who Attended Yesterday's NC 20 Meeting in New Bern!

Welcome to everyone who attended yesterday's meeting of NC 20 at the New Bern convention center!

Many of you were directed to this site by one of the attendees of that meeting. Once you have a chance to peruse this personal blog, you will very soon note that it is in great part about political matters affecting the Eighth Congressional District of North Carolina. As many of you know, I live in Richmond County, which is the heart of a district that stretches from Charlotte to Fayetteville.

This same gentleman who attended the New Bern meeting and directed you to this site met with me personally, along with his colleagues on the Kure Beach town council, approximately two weeks ago in my Raleigh office. I spent almost an hour listening to his concerns and directly answering ALL of his questions despite his frequent interruptions. I believe this gentleman is attempting to play partisan politics with your insurance rates, which is highly inappropriate and contrary to the best interests of the people of North Carolina.

Meanwhile, please note that I personally directed my Assistant Commissioner of Insurance to attend the entire New Bern meeting yesterday because your opinions and issues matter greatly to me. (I couldn't attend because of a previously-scheduled meeting with representatives from Coastal Carolina Tomorrow, based in Wilmington, about potential solutions to the coastal insurance dilemma.) He is in charge of the Eastern Regional Office for the Department of Insurance. All issues that concern eastern North Carolina concern him, me, and the Department.

My focus is finding the most affordable, most fair insurance rates possible, protecting consumers, and appropriately ensuring a well-regulated, solvent, competitive market. These were promises I made during the campaign and will continue to be goals I strive for. Working together, we all will find a solution during these trying economic times.

I encourage you to contact me with your thoughts and concerns as we work cooperatively toward solutions. My office number at the Department of Insurance is (919) 733-3058 and my email address is wgoodwin@ncdoi.net.

Thank you for visiting my Wayne's World blog.