Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Goodwin Victorious After "Marathon" Campaign for Re-election as NC Insurance Commissioner

Last night, surrounded by family and friends, NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin won his race for re-election in a contest that was closer than expected. The closeness of the campaign was due almost solely to the Romney/McCrory successes above him on the ballot and the residual concerns by some in coastal North Carolina regarding a homeowners insurance increase that Goodwin's predecessor (and not Goodwin) approved four years earlier.
Goodwin said:
A win is a win is a win. In baseball, you only need one run to win the World Series. In the Super Bowl, you win the trophy if you're one inch over the goal line. In my re-election campaign, I wasn't looking for a great win but hoped that voters were looking for a "Good Win" in the Insurance Commissioner's race!

By last reports, the Hamlet native won by a margin of four points, 52% to 48%.

Goodwin spent all day Wednesday receiving and responding to messages from well-wishers.

On his Facebook account he posted:
I want thank everyone over the course of the last several years (not just months) who volunteered, contributed to, and supported my campaign for re-election as our state Insurance Commissioner. The race ending last night was truly a marathon, but together we made it across the finish line last night. Again, an endless supply of thanks, my friends!
Insurance Commissioner Goodwin, to make sure as many supporters as possible got the word, also sent out a wide-ranging email that read:
Dear Friend,

I cannot thank you enough for your support through this marathon of a campaign. I have crisscrossed the great state of North Carolina many times over the past several months, and nothing has been more rewarding than to meet all of you who have helped launch me into a second term as your Insurance Commissioner.

You may have heard me say that this is a serious job for a serious candidate. Thank you for taking my vision for the Department of Insurance seriously; I would not be here without you.

I am proud of all that we have accomplished so far, but I truly believe the best years are yet to come. I am fortunate to have a great team around me, and we all look forward to continuing to serve you.

Thank you,

Wayne Goodwin, Insurance Commissioner
And in a public message to his 415 or so employees at the NC Department of Insurance, Goodwin said:
Good morning!

You’ve probably heard the results of an event that concluded last night, an event that I rightly compared to a marathon.

Now that the marathon is over – and the race is won – I want to share with you what I’ve heard from Manteo to Murphy, from Eden to Ellerbe, particularly over the last year. That is, folks deeply appreciate the work of our Department of Insurance. Our team – yes, our team – helps so many people in so many ways that it’s not surprising that people automatically think of constituent service and consumer protection when they go to make a decision for state Insurance Commissioner. When the question comes up, “Who’s fighting for us?”, they know we at NCDOI are.

That doesn’t mean we’ve solved every problem. And, yes, we still face challenges – but so do every state agency and our leaders as a whole. We will meet them head on. And I believe we will tackle many of these challenges over the next four years.

All I know with absolute certainty, though, is that there are no better team mates – no one that I’d want to have in my corner more than each of you!

I am humbled to be given another four years to be the leader of this team, and I’m inspired by how collectively we have made such a positive impact on consumer protection, market issues, and public safety/fire safety as we have done.

Now let’s get back to work and keep doing what the people of North Carolina expect from us and get from us every day: Our best.

Thank you for all you do.


2012 GOP challenger Mike Causey very graciously called Insurance Commissioner Goodwin at home today to extend his congratulations and appreciation for a well-fought, clean race. "I truly appreciate Mike's sincere comments about the race, and applaud his reaching out to me after the election. He is certainly a believer in public service, evidenced by his four runs for the post. I wish him well and thank him for the personal, ceremonial call," reported Goodwin. "Running for public office is not easy, and I commend folks who put themselves out there for the greater good and to give voters a choice."

Meanwhile, the extensiveness of Insurance Commissioner Goodwin's "ground game" and grassroots network is noteworthy, as is his prowess at fundraising. It is estimated that Goodwin raised more than twice the funds that his predecessor (the 24-year former incumbent Jim Long) raised and more than seven times the sum raised by his 2012 challenger.

After taking a few days of respite, the Tar Heel insurance regulator will be back in the saddle riding off to various places within North Carolina to meet with consumers and professionals, fighting for what's right and serving the great State to the best of ability.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Goodwin: We need consumer advocate, not career insurance man, as NC Insurance Commissioner

Late into the night a few hours before Election Day polls open, countless persons across North Carolina - and even out of state - received spam from Mike Causey, Republican candidate for state insurance commissioner.

In that unsolicited, massive spam Mike Causey - who worked 30 years as a paid insurance company executive! - professed that North Carolina needs a "career insurance man" such as he for state Insurance Commissioner.


North Carolina does not need someone regulating rates and licenses of the insurance industry who has a conflict of interest (and campaign finance scandals and federal tax lien/bankruptcy problems on top of that).

We need to elect an Insurance Commissioner who is not tied to anyone in the industry regulated by the Department of Insurance.

We need an Insurance Commissioner who is not going to tilt the delicate balance away from consumers - individuals, families and small businesses - and towards insurance companies.

In massive contrast to Mike Causey, incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has saved consumers over $1.4 Billion, assisted citizens all around the state with their insurance and other matters, fight insurance fraud with great success, and championed our state's firefighters. Goodwin has stood up to insurance companies and been an effective voice for all of us individual residents.

It is imperative that we vote to RE-ELECT Wayne Goodwin as our state Insurance Commissioner.

Republican, Democrat, and Unaffiliated voters agree: Keep Causey Out, Vote Goodwin Back In.

To do otherwise is scary for everyone's pocketbooks.

# # #

Friday, November 2, 2012

The "Mike Causey Lie Train" Has Left the Station ...

It was bound to happen. Especially with just a few days to go before Election Day.

You know, when perennial failed Insurance Commissioner candidate Mike Causey would start to fling anything and everything at NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin in their election contest.

Just yesterday you read about how Causey does not care about the facts and how he might as well be wearing a tinfoil hat.

Now the "darn the facts, let's just say it anyway" approach is guiding candidate Causey.

In fact, just a few hours ago he sent his blast email entitled "Down to the Wire" .... to his opponent and myriad other persons who would never in a million years vote for Mike Causey. (Mike has apparently bought, borrowed or obtained a list containing everyone's email address except perhaps George Lucas, and that's because Lucas doesn't need one - Lucas has The Force. But I digress.)

So, Causey decided that if others in his party could say certain things in legislative races then he could say them with impunity in his campaign for Insurance Commissioner. Wrong!

In fact, his behavior is so predictable that it's laughable:

He accuses Insurance Commissioner Goodwin of raising taxes. (Sorry, but state Insurance Commissioners do not raise taxes. How can an Insurance Commissioner raise anyone's taxes? Is Causey sharing campaign staff/managers with one or more legislative candidates - ah, yes, that explains it!)

He says that the Department of Insurance is bloated. (Apparently he doesn't know about multiple years of budget cuts or that many positions are paid for by non-State grants and for specific purposes.)

He accuses Goodwin of expanding the size of the Department of Insurance. (Actually, Goodwin has streamlined DOI, combined some divisions, and tightened the agency's belt with fewer dollars. Only the legislature can add positions, and Causey's party controls that process.)

He alleges that Goodwin has produced tons of rules and regulations. (In truth, Insurance Commissioner Goodwin repealed many rules and regs -- he froze rule-making, then repealed duplicative, unnecessary, and old rules and regs.)

He ominously states that state Insurance Commissioner Goodwin will implement Obamacare, as if the state insurance commissioner has a final say in it. (If he'd read several years of news clippings and countless posts, speeches, and interviews done by Commissioner Goodwin then he'd know that Insurance Commissioner Goodwin fought parts of Obamacare that violated State sovereignty, and continues to press for "state" regulation of insurance, not federal. Linking this with some prior statements he has made recently, Mike Causey apparently believes he can "nullify" a federal law as state Insurance Commissioner. Not possible. Andrew Jackson in 1832 and the Civil War in large part - if he studied American history and law - say his position is unlawful, maybe a bit eyebrow-raising. Perhaps Causey believes he is running for U.S. Supreme Court Justice or U.S. Congress?)

And, he says that the Department is costing taxpayers money. (Really? The Department of Insurance, which brings in hundreds of millions of dollars annually in receipts and functions on monies paid by insurance companies and not general fund dollars, costs taxpayers money? Doesn't Causey realize that it is the insurance industry that sought creation of the office of Insurance Commissioner and the Department of Insurance many years ago as a means of preventing bad actors, insolvent insurance companies, etc., from disrupting the marketplace and harming consumers? If anything, the Department of Insurance is "the goose that laid the golden egg" for the State because it generates tremendous income for the People of North Carolina but not from the people.)

In thinking about what prompts this post, one must remember that Mike Causey has run four times now for state Insurance Commissioner. The state's voters have REJECTED him previously each time and, with facts and not fiction, will do so again.

You'd think he know better than to send out a Hail Mary pass by email which is full of lies.

You'd at least think he'd know more about the office for which he is running.

Watch out, folks. The "Mike Causey Lying to Election Day Train Trip" has begun. Be careful and don't get run over. He sure doesn't care if simple things like facts and law get in his way, and assuredly doesn't care if people get misled in the process. His desperation is a dangerous thing.

Vote to re-elect Wayne Goodwin as NC Insurance Commissioner.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Eastern North Carolina Supporting Wayne Goodwin

With endorsements from newspapers in Elizabeth City, Greenville and Wilmington -- and with his not approving two insurance rates hikes that would have disproportionately affected the coast -- it would appear that Eastern North Carolina will lean toward re-electing Wayne Goodwin as the state's Insurance Commissioner.

The Facts Be Darned, Mike Causey Strangely Says Goodwin Hasn't Saved NC $1.4 Billion

It is certainly the silly season as Election Day 2012 draws near.

Here's the latest evidence: Mike Causey, the four-time challenger for the office of North Carolina Insurance Commissioner and a former paid lobbyist, has told news media that incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has saved Tar Heel residents no money during his term in office.

Causey said: "... there's no savings there."

Goodwin has actually ordered $1.4 Billion in refunds, rate cuts, and rebates. (Listen to the WUNC-Radio interview here at this link.)

Causey also said:
" ... insurance rates have been going up for too long, partly because Goodwin's policies have kept more private insurers from offering property policies in the state,..."
Apparently, the Republican candidate Causey doesn't know that a public information request will verify that forty-one (41) new property companies have begun writing in North Carolina just on Goodwin's watch. It's even been in newspapers.

Also, what "policies" and "private insurers" is Causey referring to? Only insurance companies that are insolvent or have major legal problems are prohibited from coming here. Is it that Causey wants North Carolina to open the door to insurance companies that have had their licenses revoked in other states, or is it he just wants to raise rates so more insurance companies come here?

Facts be darned, Causey does not realize that if Insurance Commissioner Goodwin had not taken action and ordered rate cuts, refunds and rebates then billions of dollars of additional insurance expenses would have been on the backs of individuals, families and small businesses.

And what about the actual checks that millions of citizens and policyholders have received as a result of orders by Insurance Commissioner Goodwin?

For example:

One million drivers received a total of $50 million in 2009-10.

Over 215,000 families received $156 million in health insurance rebates in 2010.

Hundreds of thousands more North Carolina residents and businesses received many millions of dollars in refunds (example here) as a result of Insurance Commissioner Goodwin.

Were those checks a figment of everyone's imagination, as Mike Causey would have people believe?

Republican Mike Causey, who wants to take North Carolina back to the 1830s, apparently believes so. What's next -- Mike Causey denying the world is round and denying that men landed on the moon? It's tinfoil hat time.

This state cannot afford to have potential leaders who will deny basic facts just to get elected, and adopt policies that will take us back to the Stone Age. There's just too much at stake.

North Carolina needs an Insurance Commissioner who fights for the people, has bipartisan support, has an actual proven record of savings, and knows both facts and law.

Let's pray that the voters know the true choice they have here.

Vote to re-elect Wayne Goodwin as North Carolina's Insurance Commissioner.

UPDATE, 2 Nov 2012: Read even more recent bouts with truthfulness by the Mike Causey campaign here at this link.

# # #

Raleigh, Greenville Newspapers Endorse Wayne Goodwin for Re-election as NC Insurance Commissioner!

In addition to the throng of newspaper editorial boards from the mountains to the sea that have already done so, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has today received the editorial board endorsements of both the Raleigh News & Observer and the The Daily Reflector of Greenville.

The Greenville newspaper had this to say specifically:
"Goodwin, 45, is the Democratic incumbent who was elected four years ago after serving eight years in the N.C. House. He has successfully sparred with insurance companies in an effort to keep rates low for the state’s motorists, though housing rates may increase along the coast due to legislation passed by the General Assembly.

Causey, 62, is the Republican challenger who worked as an insurance agent for 30 years. ...

... Goodwin has proven to be the type of dedicated, thoughtful public servant North Carolina should appreciate. Voters should lend him their support."
With major endorsements coming his way and statewide TV, radio and social media ads running constantly touting his proven record of fighting for the people, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has the momentum going his way for success on Tuesday night when the polls close and the ballots are counted.

Don't forget to vote early or on Election Day!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fourth Poll Shows Goodwin Momentum Building; Causey Behind by Nine Points

The fourth independent, statewide public poll has now been released and it has North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin with a 9-point lead - his largest yet - over challenger Mike Causey.

As previously reported here, previous polls have shown Goodwin in the lead over the past four months.
The current poll results are probably an indication that Commissioner Goodwin's statewide TV and radio advertising have made their mark among voters.
"I'm pleased with this latest poll, but also very cautious because I recognize that polls are merely snapshots in time," said Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin. "I must remain vigilant and campaign doggedly until the polls close on Election Day, November 6th."
It does not hurt that six newspapers statewide have endorsed Goodwin, along with firefighters, educators, law enforcement officials, and multiple divergent advocacy groups, including business leaders from across the political spectrum.

Nationally-renowned Public Policy Polling (PPP) conducted the poll. PPP surveyed 880 likely voters from October 23rd to 25th. The margin of error for the
survey is +/-3.3%.

Goodwin Opponent Wants to Take NC Back to the 1830s?

Mike Causey, GOP challenger to incumbent NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin in this year's election, startled a Greensboro newspaper editor this week by specifically advocating for "nullification." Read the full article here.

Even North Carolina's native son, President Andrew Jackson, called such belief folly when he ridiculed it back in the 1830s.

This policy position by the four-time candidate for insurance commissioner, retired insurance industry executive and paid lobbyist has prompted his inclusion in a statewide press statement extolling his plans to take North Carolina "back in time."

North Carolinians have a stark choice between the 19th century Causey or the 21st century Goodwin.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Goodwin Message Reaches TV Audiences Statewide During Six-Week Run

This week incumbent North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin's third TV ad entered the rotation as the two-week countdown to Election Day began. In total, Goodwin's ads will have run over a six week period.

His first ad is a direct conversation by the candidate, looking straight into the camera to discuss the highlights of his term in office.

Goodwin's second ad features Buncombe County's Van Duncan, the popular Sheriff there. The sheriff, speaking on his behalf and for other law enforcement officers, heralds the state insurance commissioner's highly successful fraud-fighting efforts.

The third ad again includes Goodwin. This time the viewer is peeking in on a kitchen conversation between the state official and a coastal/eastern North Carolina resident. Insurance Commissioner Goodwin pledges to always fight for eastern North Carolina, just as valiantly and intensely as he did immediately after Hurricane Irene struck in 2011.

Meanwhile, the Council of State member has had ongoing short spots on NCSPIN, on social media, and on statewide radio.

To date, it appears that Goodwin's Republican challenger, Mike Causey, has gone on radio and purchased a small buy on NCSPIN but no broadcast or cable TV advertising that could be found.

Regardless of whomever the winner is on Election Night, it is fair to say that the candidates will have spent the largest sum of money ever spent on TV in a North Carolina insurance commissioner race. And it is also very fair - and accurate - to say that Wayne Goodwin is the only candidate for state Insurance Commissioner with a proven record of fighting for consumers.

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Has Been Endorsed by Newspapers Statewide

With two weeks to go until Election Day, we are now at the stage when editorial boards of newspapers choose whether to endorse or not in certain races here in North Carolina.

It is now clear that incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has received the clear and consistent support of newspaper editors across the Tar Heel state.

So far, Goodwin has received endorsements for re-election from The Charlotte Observer, the Winston-Salem Journal, the Asheville Citizen-Times, and The Independent Weekly.

It appears that opponent Mike Causey has only received endorsements from hyper-partisan Tea Party groups and Tea Party-related "news" blogs. Only Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has received endorsements from bipartisan, mainstream North Carolina. (Keep in mind that Republicans have gone out of their way to support Democrat Wayne Goodwin, and not just former Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr., but North Carolina GOP members all across the state.)

It is most interesting to note what some of the printed endorsements had to say in the race.

The Charlotte Observer stated that only Goodwin was capable of handling the "complicated" insurance law landscape for North Carolina and that only the incumbent commissioner has "a keen grasp" of the issues.

The Independent Weekly stated:
"We endorse incumbent Wayne Goodwin, who is running for a second term. We applaud his attention to insurance issues affecting coastal property owners. He is seeking greater consumer protections for these property owners, who may not be able to afford or even apply for insurance in these hurricane-prone areas. One way he is doing this is to stagger rate hikes over several years so that property owners aren't hit with sticker shock.

While Goodwin understands that insurance companies are businesses and thus want to make a profit, he is also aware of their power to tip the scales toward their interests. He recently persuaded the Legislature to require public comment periods after insurance company rate filings and is focusing on making insurance policies readable—reducing the legalese—for lay people.

His opponent, Mike Causey, a retired insurance professional, worked as a lobbyist for the insurance industry. He ran for commissioner in 1992, 1996 and 2000 against then-commissioner Jim Long. He worked as a lobbyist for several groups, including Citizens for Insurance Reform. He opposes ObamaCare and disagrees with the Supreme Court's ruling that most of it is constitutional."
In Winston-Salem the newspaper stated that Goodwin has "guided his department through a difficult era for insurance coverage and done reasonably well ..."

Meanwhile, the blogosphere has entered into the Insurance Commissioner race as well. The Greensboro News & Record's political blogger, Travis Fain, commented on Causey's federal tax lien, bankruptcy and campaign finance problems, while an interesting independent blog has focused on Causey's foibles and roadblocks to being a good fit for North Carolina.

UPDATE #1: The Greensboro News & Record endorsed Wayne Goodwin for re-election as Insurance Commissioner on October 23rd. Here's its basis for the endorsement:
"Goodwin, however, put down a potential storm two years ago when then-state Senate leader Marc Basnight tried to weaken the commissioner’s rate-setting authority. Basnight, from Dare County, attempted a legislative maneuver that likely would have led to lower property insurance rates in coastal counties, with inland policy holders paying more. Goodwin stopped it cold, as he has resisted rate increases while also trying to make North Carolina a place where insurance companies can still do business.

Goodwin also believes North Carolina should play a role in managing health insurance exchanges to provide low-cost coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Causey opposes the federal law. “Nullification” by North Carolina is “still an option,” he said. No, it’s not.

Goodwin is the better choice."
UPDATE #2: The Daily Advance of Elizabeth City, one of our beautiful eastern/coastal cities of North Carolina, has now endorsed Wayne Goodwin for re-election as NC Insurance Commissioner, based on its October 25th editorial.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

State Fire Marshal Goodwin: Remember Fire Prevention Week

One of the hats worn by NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin is that of State Fire Marshal.

As essentially the state's fire chief, he takes great pride and responsibility in working on projects with his 57,000 partners in the fire and rescue services in North Carolina.

This week is Fire Prevention Month, a regular project of all firefighters as they and Goodwin go about promoting fire and life safety measures.

The theme for this year is "Two Ways Out." It is important that homeowners and residents plan for two exits from every room, just in case one exit is blocked by fire or smoke. Also, Goodwin says, it is imperative that families create a home exit plan so family members know how to exit a house and where to meet up outside safe and away from a burning structure. And while on the subject of developing and practicing that emergency exit plan for your home, go ahead and get in the habit of testing your smoke alarms monthly and changing the batteries twice a year.

Commissioner Goodwin reminds folks that a great many fires begin in the kitchen, so be extra careful when cooking or preparing meals in or on your oven, or in your microwave.

WRAL-TV featured Insurance Commissioner Goodwin on its early morning show this week at this link.
And, countless newspapers and radio stations shared the state fire chief's message, doing their part to educate Tar Heel residents the importance of fire prevention.

# # #

Monday, October 8, 2012

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Announces Historic Insurance Fraud Arrests: 600 Arrested So Far on Goodwin's Watch!

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin announced that his team busted the largest single embezzlement and insurance fraud scheme in the history of the Department of Insurance.

In what appears to be at least $5.3 million, Goodwin's sworn law enforcement officers and criminal investigators worked and built the case so that the four arrests could be made and the most solid case could be presented to the grand jury.

"This is an instance where the insurance company reported something seemed to be amiss, and my team went in and rooted out what we believe is the largest multi-million-dollar embezzlement in state history. My thanks goes out to the company and to the local prosecutor for working as a terrific team," said goodwin.

On his watch Goodwin's administration has made more than 600 arrests and recovered more than $49 million for victims of insurance fraud.

Goodwin Widens Lead: Ahead in Three Statewide Polls for Insurance Commissioner

As a result of his intensified campaigning, his statewide advertising, and the public just paying more attention, incumbent NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has led his challenger in all three public statewide polls.

The two most recent polls - one by Public Policy Polling and the other by Civitas - had Goodwin up by five and eight points, respectively. The first poll had Goodwin's lead at three points; the significance about that one is the survey concluded before Insurance Commissioner Goodwin launched his TV and radio advertising, and it was not too long after Causey appeared on a ballot for the second (runoff) primary. (For additional background, go to this link here.)

This news does not bode well for Republican challenger and perennial candidate Mike Causey, who does not appear to have raised sufficient funds to make a credible media purchase statewide.

Watch for Goodwin, who has ordered insurance rate cuts and refunds and rebates of over $1.4 Billion, to maintain and solidify his lead in the final weeks before the election.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Causey Kiboshes Insurance Commissioner Forum To Be Hosted by the League of Women Voters

Lack of Causey Response Prompts Cancellation in Wilmington

On July 5th the League of Women Voters of North Carolina and the NC Center for Voter Education invited both Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and challenger Mike Causey to be the headliner at an August 21st Wilmington public forum. The planned forum would allow opening statements from the two candidates for Insurance Commissioner and then both gentlemen would receive questions from a moderator and members of the assembled public for approximately one hour.

Goodwin immediately accepted.

On August 9th, the co-hosts informed Goodwin that the event was canceled. Upon inquiring the reason, an organizer stated that the lack of a response from Mike Causey caused the cancellation. This resulted even though Causey received the invitation more than a month before the event.

Though political candidate schedules can fill up quickly and events may conflict, it is especially interesting that Mr. Causey has accepted an August 22nd invitation -- yes, that's the day after the League of Women Voters event -- for the Wilmington Region Association of Realtors. The gaping difference between the two events is that Causey accepted this subsequent event where he gets only three minutes to speak and no questions. He ignored the League forum that was open to the public and where there'd be approximately an hour of head-to-head deliberations with his opponent plus questions from the public.

Not knowing why Mr. Causey didn't agree to the August 21st event, to the observer it appears that Mr. Causey just did not want to debate his opponent.
"I'm very disappointed that Mike has given no reason for ducking the debate and has caused its cancellation," said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. "There are fundamental differences between him and me that the public needs to know. Not the least of them is that Mr. Causey worked for decades for the insurance industry special interests and I have a proven bipartisan record of saving consumers and businesses over $1.3 Billion and fighting insurance fraud."
Goodwin confirmed and accepted participation in both events.

Follow the campaign on Twitter: @WayneGoodwinNC
Campaign website:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Leads in First Public Poll

Incumbent NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin leads habitual challenger Mike Causey in the first public poll for this statewide race in the 2012 Fall campaign.

What is most amazing about this poll is that Goodwin has his lead even though (a) Causey has already been on the ballot himself twice this one year alone,(b) Causey has been on the statewide ballot four times for the same office, and (c) Goodwin hasn't even begun his media messaging in earnest yet.
"I'm pleased with these results, and look forward to advocating for why my proven record of saving consumers more than $1.3 Billion, obtaining more than 600 arrests for insurance fraud, and being a strong advocate for our firefighters are key to my re-election campaign," said Goodwin.
Stay tuned as the public begins to pay more attention to this important office and Insurance Commissioner Goodwin gets his message out to North Carolina's voters.

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Heralds New Report Confirming NC's Low Car Insurance Rates

A recently published independent study shows that North Carolinians spend approx 1.6% of income on car insurance, the second lowest spent in the country!

The report acknowledges that a large contributing factor to this particular metric is how North Carolina has regulated car insurance rates over the years.
"It's not a perfect system, but it has contributed to the lowest average car insurance rates from Delaware to Texas and some of the very lowest in the country, while also having the third-most-stable insurance market in the country," explained Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin.
Goodwin sees value in the system while still seeking targeted reforms.
"It is very interesting that some folks won't accept facts or evidence that our average insurance rates are among the very lowest. That's good for business and great for individual drivers and families," he said.

Follow Goodwin's ongoing discussion of this issue and other relevant topics by becoming a friend to his campaign Facebook page or following him on Twitter via @WayneGoodwinNC. Alternatively, stay tuned to the campaign website,

Goodwin Challenger Mike Causey Fires Himself As Campaign Treasurer

Following up on the previous post linked here, the State Board of Elections has published a document indicating that candidate Mike Causey has now fired himself as his own campaign treasurer.

Until a few days ago and various campaign finance irregularities arose, candidate Causey served as his own treasurer, which is lawful.

This news comes on the heels of Causey's admissions to certain campaign finance allegations.
"The job of Insurance Commissioner requires great attention to detail, oftentimes minute details. Nobody's perfect. But it is important to know that an Insurance Commissioner responsible for setting various insurance rates and making decisions impacting businesses, the insurance marketplace, and people's pocketbooks knows to watch those details and follow the law," said incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin.
Follow Goodwin's ongoing discussion of issues by becoming a friend to his campaign Facebook page or following him on Twitter via @WayneGoodwinNC. Alternatively, stay tuned to the campaign website,

Goodwin challenger, Mike Causey, admits to election law errors and violations

Much has happened within the last two weeks in the 2012 Insurance Commissioner's race here in North Carolina.

After habitual failed candidate Mike Causey (he's run four times now for the same office) won his hard-fought runoff primary election last month, incumbent Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin and his re-election team discovered some anomalies in Causey's campaign finance reports. Those apparent problems and alleged violations may be further analyzed in detail here at this independent link.

Now, the Raleigh News & Observer has printed an update wherein Mr. Causey admits to many of the errors, omissions, and violations. His defense is mainly "Oops."

Mr. Causey and some of his supporters have said that Causey's violations are no big deal.

That is further from the truth.
"The law is the law. I want Mr. Causey to play by the same rules and laws that the rest of us must follow," said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. "He may think that his several thousand dollars of unreported expenses and contributions - that we know of - are not a big deal, but they are significant errors indeed. For some of Mr. Causey's supporters to actually question my right to petition the State Board of Elections for an independent review of these allegations is shameful. Mr. Causey's subsequent admission that mistakes were made in his campaign provides further justification for my complaint."
With less than 88 days to go until Election Day, voters need to know that campaign finance violations will not be tolerated.

A fair election requires that candidates be transparent, and follow the rules and laws on campaign finance.

Mike Causey worked for the insurance industry for approximately thirty years and as a paid lobbyist for ten years. In contrast, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has never worked for any industry or special interest regulated by the Department of Insurance, and has a proven record of consumer protection (more than $1.3 billion saved so far!) and is the only candidate running for Insurance Commissioner this year well-versed in applicable North Carolina law relevant to the Department.


UPDATE: The Raleigh News & Observer published an updated article by journalist Austin Baird on August 14 at this link here.

The Associated Press also ran a statewide article on the issue on August 14. One of many news outlets published this coverage of the issue.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin Aggressively Fights Fraud and Scam Artists

The only candidate for NC Insurance Commissioner Truly Experienced in Insurance Law Enforcement.

A paramount component of North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin's goals is to find, investigate, arrest, and seek the conviction of persons committing insurance fraud and other scams in his jurisdiction.

Described as "the Capeless Crusader" here and elsewhere, Goodwin and his team continue their never-ending battle against persons who embezzle, steal, and defraud.

In fact, you most often see news of individual arrests practically every week on the Department of Insurance website. For example, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Over the last 3-1/2 years, under his leadership and that of the dedicated professionals of his Department, Goodwin's Criminal Investigations Division has arrested more than 600 persons that has thus far led to at least 330 convictions. During that same time period, he and his team have recovered more than $49 Million for victims of insurance fraud.
"As our Insurance Commissioner and the elected head of a law enforcement agency, I take protecting consumers and fighting insurance crime very seriously,” said Wayne Goodwin. “It’s not about partisanship, but right versus wrong, justice versus the lawbreaker, and competence versus inexperience, as well as protecting State-based regulation for the benefit of consumers and small businesses each and every day.”
It is interesting to note that Insurance Commissioner Goodwin has experience within a municipal Department of Public Safety in 1986, as retired SBI Director Robert Morgan's legal intern in 1989, as a sworn Special Deputy Sheriff in the 1990s, as a member of the General Assembly's Justice and Public Safety Subcommittee for at least six years, and as Assistant State Fire Marshal and Assistant Insurance Commissioner between 2005 and 2008.

Also of interest is that Insurance Commissioner Goodwin has already been described by an "Under the Dome" blogger for the Raleigh News & Observer in October 2009 as "apparently an action hero, by elected-official standards." And as every good action hero knows, it is a 24-7 job.

So, as the November elections approach, voters have a real choice: Someone like Wayne Goodwin who is tested, experienced, and has spent years fighting insurance fraud and other shenanigans, or, on the other hand, someone else who is untested, unready, and never been involved with insurance law enforcement.

If it is about who will best protect the public, the clear and obvious choice for Insurance Commissioner this year is Wayne Goodwin.

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Follow Insurance Commissioner Goodwin on Twitter @WayneGoodwinNC or on Facebook here at this link.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Wayne Goodwin Campaign Continues to Gain Re-election Momentum:

Has 20 to 1 Advantage Over His 2012 Opponent in One Key Area

There are several ways to measure a successful political campaign.

Most obviously would be to count votes.
But what about before the election – how do you measure success before the votes are cast?

It comes down to (1) money raised; (2) organization; (3) a ground game; and (4) supporters.

NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin appears to be winning on all fronts.

As for money raised, Insurance Commissioner Goodwin has raised more funds for this election cycle than any other person has raised for the office since its inception in 1899. Since he was sworn in, he had raised in excess of $520,000. As of the last campaign report, Goodwin had over $300,000 cash-on-hand and a few more scheduled fundraisers to go for the year.

His opponent, Mike Causey, had only mustered less than $30,000 total and had approximately $14,000 on hand as of June 30 before a costly run-off primary election.

At the organizational level, Goodwin has strong support among various constituent groups and keys in every county.

As for Goodwin’s ground game, the state’s elected Insurance Commissioner has been barnstorming the state almost non-stop since 2008 but has ultra-ramped up efforts especially over the last eight months. Every week he delivers multiple speeches to myriad groups, attends functions at fire departments or community gatherings, or is quoted in various newspapers all around North Carolina.

And then there are his supporters. His Facebook supporters alone outnumber his opponent’s list 3 to 1 and his contributors outnumber his opponent’s by 10 to 1. It probably also helps that Goodwin’s goals of consumer protection, fighting for low and fair insurance rates, and helping our firefighters are substantive – plus he has a significant, proven record to back it up -- while his opponent uses worn phrases like he’ll “bring more insurance companies to the State” and he’ll lower rates in certain areas of the State.
“To do what Causey is promising would mean many fewer consumer protections, insurance rates set at any level the companies wanted, and making the rest of the State pay more for insurance coverage than other areas,” pointed out Goodwin. “Voters need to listen closely to what he is saying and remember that Mr. Causey is the fox wanting to guard the henhouse.”
While Goodwin is running for re-election on a strong consumer protection record, his opponent – a retired insurance industry executive and paid lobbyist – is seeking the same office for the fourth time in 20 years. Unlike Causey, Goodwin has never worked for the insurance industry and has never been a lobbyist.
“We need an insurance commissioner with a successful track record and who knows how to fulfill the obligations of this office,” said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. “I have bipartisan support and a team that champions consumer protection, saving $1.3 Billion during my term, and succeeding in the conviction of 330 persons for insurance fraud. This is not the time to change horses midstream and certainly not the time to try out this important office on someone who is untested and unready.”
Though his campaign continues to gain momentum, Insurance Commissioner Goodwin is aggressively underscoring the achievements of his administration and how he and his team both saved major money for consumers and successfully encourage companies to write insurance business in North Carolina.

Goodwin maintains that he is THE serious candidate for this very serious job.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Pleased With Property Ratemaking Reforms

Says There is Still More Work to Do for Consumers & the Marketplace

The North Carolina General Assembly, with the support and strong encouragement of Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, recently enacted a package of property rate-making reforms.
"I'm pleased that the various stakeholders had input into the final product," said Goodwin. "Like with lawmaking in general, the results were in large part a series of compromises. Codifying my own personal practice of requiring public comment periods and granting me additional flexibility to negotiate or decide homeowners' rate cases were particular high marks of the new law."
A previous discussion about Goodwin's interest in reforms appeared on this blog several months ago.

The new law, introduced by GOP Senator Harry Brown after receiving a report from a select legislative study committee, will please persons in each of North Carolina's geographical regions, including the eastern/coastal area.
"I believe these measures contribute to my focus on targeted reforms and more fairness and setting adequate rates," added Commissioner Goodwin. "I'm doing what I can to strike the appropriate balance as we try to respond to the 'hard market' of the homeowners' insurance line of business. Taming that crisis is a goal of my administration."
Goodwin reminds us what this is ultimately about: Money and fairness. Consumers want to pay as little as they can for the promise that their claims will be paid; insurance agents want the ability to serve their customers with the best-priced, most-available products; and, of course, insurance companies want to make a reasonable profit so they will continue to do business and compete more in North Carolina.

Consumers and the industry benefit from the changes.

The new law is effective immediately in some parts and later this year in others. Learn more about this law and other related topics by visiting the website of the North Carolina Department of Insurance,

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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Join Insurance Commissioner Goodwin on -- an online resource during hurricane season.

June 1st was the beginning of hurricane season in 2012. NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said:
"To help me reach even more persons about the paramount need to prepare for the next big storm, my team and I at the Department of Insurance have created a special online presence here at"

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Signs Onto $40 Million Settlement: Individuals, Families, Businesses and Public Schools to Benefit

Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has entered into a $40 Million settlement with a group of MetLife insurance companies. North Carolinians will receive approximately $1 Million in the interstate settlement that may eventually be valued at $400 Million for consumers.
"This decision is further evidence of my strong support for consumers, whether they be individuals, families or small businesses," said North Carolina's Commissioner Goodwin.

He also stated:
“MetLife has agreed to improve its business practices in ways that enhance consumer protection and may benefit North Carolinians,” said State Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin “And, as a result of this settlement, many life insurance beneficiaries may receive the benefits they’re owed.”
Benefitting from this decision will also be the public schools of North Carolina.

Goodwin is seeking re-election this year, and points out that over the course of his term he has saved consumers more than $1.3 Billion. "My November opponent, a perennial candidate, is closely aligned with the insurance industry, which makes me wonder where he'd stand on this," he added.

To learn more about the MetLife settlement, go to this link here or to this additional link.

And with it being an election year, you can follow Goodwin on Twitter, @WayneGoodwinNC, or via over the coming months.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Goodwin Gains More Momentum, Continues to Outpace Opponents at Critical Time

Recently filed campaign reports with the North Carolina Board of Elections are quite clear: Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin has tremendous momentum and organization in his 2012 re-election bid.

Goodwin’s campaign has raised $452,164 from over 1,660 contributors and presently has $272,542 cash-on-hand as of April 23. And, his campaign has no debt. Supporters flock to events of his in every corner of North Carolina. And he’s in the newspaper or other media most days.

On the other hand, his top two opponents are nowhere close to that level of financial or organizational support.

The top Republican vote-getter on May 8th and Republican opponent to Goodwin had raised $52,000 by the April 23rd report, but that came from only two contributors (he and his spouse) and 97% of that was a personal loan from that opposing candidate -- and, by the way, a loan for which that candidate is charging his own campaign 5% percent interest. That opposition candidate also has an outstanding campaign debt of $162,500, mostly from failed campaigns of his in 2006, 2008 and 2010. That is Richard Morgan. He had $10,436.83 cash-on-hand as of April 23rd.

The second-place vote-getter on May 8th had raised approximately $14,000 by that report, and, unlike Morgan, his financial contributors were 214 in number. Mike Causey, who has now requested a run-off election between him and Morgan for July 17, had $4,241 cash-on-hand as of April 23rd, two weeks before that May primary.

Reflecting on the contrasts between his campaign and that of his opponents, incumbent Insurance Commissioner Goodwin said:
“I am humbled by the personal and financial support I’ve been shown so early in the election cycle. Folks who know me know that I am out working for citizens every day, and it’s energizing that such a deep, diverse, bipartisan pool of North Carolinians and friends want me to continue doing this job.”
His contributors are quite bipartisan and reflect a broad-based level of support. Funds raised by the Goodwin campaign are - by all known indications - the most gathered at this stage of an Insurance Commissioner campaign in North Carolina.

It is also interesting to note that Morgan and Causey have run and lost four previous campaigns for the same office of Insurance Commissioner between them over the last 28 years. And when you count the current election, Goodwin's two GOP opponents will have run six times for this office!

While his potential, perennial General Election Republican opponents continue to be hyper-partisan, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin stresses how he, his job and his Team are all bipartisan in outreach and support, non-political in its work, and solely focused on doing what’s right and what’s expected of a popularly-elected state insurance commissioner.

And if his fundraising and organization are any indication, Goodwin’s re-election campaign has major momentum heading into the General Election while his opponents spend the next two months running against each other as they await the July run-off election.

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Source: All information above is publicly available at

To stay up-to-date on the Goodwin campaign, follow it on Twitter @WayneGoodwinNC or become a Facebook friend by liking this link here.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"We must reform property insurance ratemaking," says Insurance Commissioner Goodwin

As indicated in his public press release here, Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin expressed his appreciation to the members of Legislative Research Committee on Property Insurance Rate Making for their diligent study in the area of homeowners insurance. Goodwin addressed the committee on March 21, 2012, and recommended five ways to improve property insurance rate making through greater transparency in rate filings, public comment periods, more flexibility in the insurance commissioner’s authority to set rates and other measures.
"My job, ultimately, is a balancing act,” said Goodwin. “Consumers want to know they’re getting a fair insurance rate, particularly in the coast areas of North Carolina. The insurance industry wants to know it has the opportunity to make a fair and reasonable profit."
But he stressed how imperative it is that the State reform its property insurance ratemaking laws. "Homeowners' insurance is the insurance crisis in North Carolina, not car insurance," he added. Changes should be targeted so that no there are no negative, unintended consequences, the statewide-elected official posited. The committee issued its final recommendations on April 12. The General Assembly will consider the committee's report and is expected to take up some of the suggestions. To read the full text of the Insurance Commissioner’s remarks, click here at this hyperlink.

Barry Goldwater & Other Republicans Support Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin!

To the surprise of some who follow partisan politics in North Carolina, former U.S. Congressman Barry M. Goldwater, Jr., heartily endorsed NC Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin at two March 2012 events in the Tar Heel state. Goldwater told those gathered that he supported Goodwin, though of a different party, because Goodwin is a stalwart advocate both for State-based insurance regulation and consumer protection, and has a successful record of accomplishment as Insurance Commissioner. The Congressman even reported how his namesake father, the late U.S. Senator from Arizona and 1964 GOP presidential nominee known for being the father of the modern Republican party, crossed party lines himself to support candidates.
"Commissioner Goodwin has my strong personal support because of his unmatched track record of protecting consumers, preserving state-based insurance regulation and helping to bring new insurance companies and jobs to North Carolina," said Goldwater. “Wayne’s work transcends partisan politics. He is trustworthy, hard-working and one of the most accessible public servants I've ever seen."
Goodwin has saved citizens and businesses more than $1 billion in the last four years through rate cuts, rebates, refunds and restitution. His administration has made unprecedented strides in promoting greater transparency and good government initiatives.
"I greatly appreciate Congressman Goldwater's endorsement and the support of so many folks across the political spectrum,” Goodwin said. “Even though I am on the ballot under one party label, my job is not really a partisan job at all. My job is to get remedies for the people North Carolina and to protect them from unscrupulous practices."
It is important to note, however, that having bipartisan support is not a new concept for Insurance Commissioner Goodwin. Not only have Republicans voted for him and will vote for him, a review of his public campaign reports indicates a plethora of Republicans who also believe in him enough to make a personal contribution for the re-election efforts.
"I do not see my job as partisan. My job of protecting consumers from excessive insurance rates, fighting insurance fraud, promoting a competitive and reasonably profitable insurance market, and serving the best interests of the firefighters (as State Fire Marshal) has nothing to do with political parties whatsoever: It is about doing what is right and best and fair for all stakeholders, preserving the appropriate balance among them," said Goodwin.
Goodwin told the Raleigh News & Observer that an endorsement does not mean he agrees with Goldwater on everything. The Council of State member is heartened and humbled by the strong showing he has all across the political spectrum. And he works every day to serve all North Carolinians, just as they expect.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Goodwin: A State Insurance Commissioner Always In Motion

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin, by all accounts public and private, is constantly in motion.

Whether giving speeches all across the State, attending community and charitable and church events, supporting firefighter causes, meeting with local legislators and area leaders, or informing and inspiring thousands and thousands of licensees and business owners and families about his work for them, Goodwin has been described as being “everywhere.” (“Everywhere” is a lot easier to say than “ubiquitous!”)
“With 600,000 licensees and 9 million citizens of North Carolina – not to mention the broad impact and scope of this office -- it shouldn’t be surprising that my regular week is chockfull of public appearances and in-state travel,” said Goodwin. “In fact, I’m of the opinion that someone is not doing anything unless they are in motion.”
Individuals, families and businesses love it when they hear and see how he is fighting for them – especially after catastrophes like hurricanes and tornadoes or on the cost of insurance, namely car insurance. North Carolina has the lowest average car insurance rates in the South from Delaware to Texas, and is the eighth lowest in the country. Through rate cuts, rebates, refunds, and restitution, Goodwin and his team have saved consumers – including businesses – more than $1 Billion over the last 3-1/2 years. And in 2011 alone, Goodwin's Consumer Services Division recovered $42 million for consumers.

Agents love it when they are reminded about how he is fighting for fairness and their inclusion in his advisory committees, and supporting initiatives that help them keep their agencies open and so their communities continue having access to an insurance counselor on Main Street and avoid marketplace disruption. The insurance commissioner has been described by professionals in state and out of state as “one of the most accessible insurance regulators in the country.”

Firefighters and other first responders love it that Commissioner Goodwin – who is also the State Fire Marshal – champions their causes, and takes the time to join them in moments of triumph and in moments of tragedy.

Law enforcement officials, prosecutors, insurance companies and citizens love that Goodwin’s team has focused even more intently on ferreting out insurance fraud. Over the last 3-1/2 years, his investigators have recovered $47.9 million for victims of insurance fraud.

Homebuilders and local government building officials love it that just a few weeks ago Insurance Commissioner Goodwin’s personal intervention on a code book matter helped avert a crisis (using the words of the North Carolina Homebuilders Association), and prevented the unlawful stoppage of building permits all across North Carolina. Building permits translate to jobs and economic growth, and Goodwin knows it.

And, consumer advocates herald his service as chairman of the national consumers participation board and his focus on transparency in government. Many have highlighted Goodwin’s requirement for more public comment periods and opportunities for public hearings, etc.

In most months he’s been found in every corner of the state – not just Raleigh, Charlotte, Greensboro, Winston-Salem and Asheville, but also in Manteo, Murphy, Matthews, Morrisville, Mocksville, and Marston.

And if you haven’t seen North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin before or lately, then don’t worry: You will see him very soon.

After all, like Sir Isaac Newton’s First Law teaches us --- things in motion tend to stay in motion.

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To track his motion and his successes, go to or follow him on Twitter (@WayneGoodwinNC) or on Facebook homepage here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Goodwin Files Fundraising Report, Outpaces Competition

Continues to Set Records for Campaign War Chest & Organization in Re-election Bid

North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin continues to gain momentum as he prepares to file for re-election on Feb. 13.

Last week, his campaign committee reported to the State Board of Elections an impressive sum raised for his re-election. Through January 31, Goodwin has raised approximately $390,000. The most recent reports show that other announced candidates running for this same office in 2012 have raised less than $2,500 collectively.
“I am humbled by the personal and financial support I’ve been shown so early in the election cycle,” said Goodwin. “I am out working for citizens every day, and it’s energizing that such a deep, diverse pool of North Carolinians want me to continue doing this job.”
His contributors are quite bipartisan and reflect a broad-based level of support. Funds raised by the Goodwin campaign are - by all known indications - the most gathered at this stage of an Insurance Commissioner campaign in North Carolina.

The Council of State member has built a strong team already, and every week meets with citizens and community leaders. For example, last week alone he interacted with more than 4,500 people in North Carolina, a number that is not surprising given how much in demand his time is by community groups, civic clubs, professional organizations, and conventions.
"Accessibility, approachability, consumer protection, and transparency are hallmarks of both my administration as state Commissioner of Insurance but also of good government in general," he asserted.
Meanwhile, under Commissioner Goodwin’s watch:

*North Carolina has maintained the lowest auto insurance rates in the South and the 8th lowest rates in the nation.

*New insurance companies have flocked to do business in the state, which indicates strong competition and leads to good prices for citizens.

*Efforts of the Department of Insurance have saved more than $1 billion for individuals, families and businesses in North Carolina.

*Criminal investigators have made more than 575 arrests for insurance fraud, resulting in more than $47 million in restitution and recoveries for victims.

*His office has become a leader on consumer protection, accessibility and transparency in government.

To learn more, go to Follow the campaign at Wayne Goodwin for NC Insurance Commissioner on Facebook, or @WayneGoodwinNC on Twitter.


Thursday, January 12, 2012

NC Insurance Commissioner Goodwin Recovered $42 million in 2011 for NC Consumers

I'm very pleased to report that my team and I announced yesterday that in 2011 we were able to recover $42 million for individuals, families and businesses of North Carolina! This is just part of the more than $1 BILLION my service as NC Insurance Commissioner has saved consumers since 2008.
As found in the linked press release here,
"I am very proud of the dedicated work of the Department of Insurance. Having recovered or saved more than $42 million in the last year alone shows that we are fighting fraud, holding our licensees to high standards, and helping people with their insurance questions or complaints," Goodwin said. "We are committed to building on this success as we continue protecting consumers in 2012."
Several divisions of the Department of Insurance contributed to the total recoveries and savings:

•The Consumer Services Division, which receives consumer inquiries and complaints about homeowners, auto, life and other insurance-related issues, handled approximately 76,000 calls and 8,100 written complaints from the public. Through these calls and complaints, the Department was able to help citizens recover more than $16.4 million in benefits from insurance companies.

Health Insurance Smart NC and the former stand-alone external review program together returned $1,130,035 to consumers as a result of services provided. Health Insurance Smart NC, the department's newest consumer assistance program, assists people with questions about health insurance, and helps consumers file complaints or appeals with their health insurance companies, identify enrollment opportunities and request external reviews for denied claims. Since its launch in April 2011, Smart NC specialists have responded to 1,159 consumer complaints, 254 health insurance enrollment inquiries and 199 medical appeal cases. The department handled 322 external review requests in the calendar year.

SHIIP, the Seniors' Health Insurance Information Program, assisted more than 100,700 consumers with general Medicare questions and helped more than 6,200 Medicare recipients apply for the Low-Income Subsidy program that provides savings for prescription drug costs. The estimated cost savings for Medicare beneficiaries was $12,053,064. SHIIP offers free, unbiased information about Medicare, Medicare prescription drug coverage, Medicare Advantage, long-term care insurance and other health insurance information. SHIIP's trained volunteers provide one-on-one counseling in all 100 counties.

•The Criminal Investigations Division employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud and criminal concerns associated with bail bonding, motor clubs, collection agencies and premium finance companies. In 2011, the work of these criminal investigators led to 144 arrests, 83 criminal convictions and more than $10.4 million in restitution and recoveries. Another 109 cases are currently pending in court.

•The Agent Services Division regulates all licensed agents, brokers, limited representatives, appraisers, adjusters, premium finance companies, collection agencies, motor clubs, bail bondsmen, surety bondsmen and bail bond runners authorized to do business in North Carolina. Oversight includes licensure qualification, pre-licensing education, continuing education, telephone inquiries, complaint investigations and agency examinations. The Division investigated more than 1,040 complaints and recovered $50,958.28 in premium funds for consumers.

•The Market Regulation Division conducts both routine and targeted market conduct examinations on foreign and domestic licensed companies (insurance companies, premium finance companies, HMOs, PPOs and more) to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations. Through these exams, the Division ordered $2,187,748.65 returned to policyholders.

Please share this information with your friends, and remind them that this is a large part of what folks should consider when they go to the polls in 2012.

I work for YOU, North Carolina! And, here's a quick video about how my team and I have saved North Carolinians $42 million in 2011 alone!

To learn more, go to