The three Republican candidates for state insurance commissioner all want fewer regulations and more companies to offer coverage in North Carolina – they just disagree on who’s most capable to make it happen.
Mike Causey, James McCall and Richard Morgan are vying for the chance to challenge incumbent Democrat Wayne Goodwin in November.
Morgan’s candidacy is the most intriguing. The former state lawmaker served as House co-speaker in a power-sharing agreement with Democrat Jim Black in 2003. Irate Republicans orchestrated his defeat in the 2006 GOP primary and Morgan has tried to make a political comeback ever since, losing a 2008 bid for state superintendent and a 2010 campaign for state Senate.
Morgan, an insurance broker and cattle farmer, did not return a call about his campaign. But a TV ad posted on his Facebook page blasts President Barack Obama’s health care law and Goodwin, whom he calls “our go-along-with-Obama insurance commissioner.” He said fewer regulations will lower insurance costs and create jobs. Another radio spot says Morgan “is not your typical guy in politics. (He) rates high on the scale of awesomeness.”
Causey, 61, retired from the insurance industry after 30 years with experience in life insurance and underwriting. He also lobbied lawmakers on insurance and health care issues for a decade.
Now Causey, a military veteran, owns a farm and farmers market in downtown Greensboro. All together, he said his background gives him an advantage. “What sets me apart is my passion to help consumers,” he said. “I want to help people with their insurance problems.”
Like his rivals, he says regulations, such as workers’ compensation rules, hurt business. “Over time, I believe we need to change the system we have right now to more of a free market system and we don’t have that today,” he said.
McCall, 58, echoes those thoughts, saying the regulations are keeping insurance companies from doing business in the state.
He owns two full-service insurance agencies and touts his knowledge of all policy markets in his 35 years of experience.
McCall said an overhaul is needed but no political will exists to accomplish it. He fears a big hurricane will devastate the state’s insurance market.
Goodwin has “a don’t-rock-the-boat-type attitude,” he said. “I see problems in the market but nobody seems to be doing anything.”