Sine die and deadline to apply for Insurance Commissioner job both Friday

March 11 is not only the final day of the 2016 Legislative Session, but it’s also the last day to apply for state Insurance Commissioner.

As of Friday morning, 47 people had applied for the position, but none were “marquee” names.

For instance, former state Rep. Tom Grady previously told FloridaPolitics.com he wasn’t interested in the job. He and others were rumored to be on Gov. Rick Scott‘s short list. 

The Naples Republican is a friend of Scott and a former Commissioner of Financial Regulation and interim president of Citizens Property Insurance Corp.

“I haven’t applied. I don’t expect to apply,” Grady said last month. “It was flattering to hear my name batted about as a leading contender.”

Also absent from the applicant pool is state Rep. Bill Hager, a Delray Beach Republican, former Iowa Insurance Commissioner, and current vice chair of the House Insurance and Banking Subcommittee.

Hager declined to comment recently when asked his interest in the position.

Also absent is Bryan Nelson, a former state representative and current Orange County commissioner.

Outgoing Insurance Commissioner Kevin McCarty had been targeted for removal by Scott, who wanted new leadership in that key office. The 56-year-old announced in January that he was stepping down from the post he had held since 2003.

His replacement will have to be agreed upon by Scott and the Florida Cabinet: CFO Jeff Atwater, Attorney General Pam Bondi, and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam.

Applications also close Friday for the position of executive director of the Department of Revenue.

Current DOR head Marshall Stranburg accepted a position as deputy executive director of the Multistate Tax Commission, an intergovernmental agency that works on uniformity in taxes among states. His last day is April 1.

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Bryan Nelson for Insurance Commissioner? Not so fast

As reported by FloridaPolitics.com earlier this week, the pool of applicants to replace outgoing Insurance Commissioner is so far anything but impressive. The applicant list stands at 32 interested parties, yet only three appear to be eligible based on the state’s pre-screening questions.

On Tuesday, we learned that former Rep. Tom Grady would not be applying for the position. Today, industry insiders are telling FloridaPolitics.com that the Governor’s Office may be looking at former state Representative and current Orange County Commissioner Bryan Nelson.

With only 3 out of 32 applicants currently being statutorily eligible to even be considered for the position, one would ask, is Bryan Nelson even eligible based on the state’s pre-screen questions?

Take for example question 1, which seems to be tripping a lot of candidates up:

“Do you have at least five (5) or more years of responsible private sector experience working full-time in areas within the scope of the subject matter jurisdiction of the Office of Insurance Regulation within the last ten (10) years?”

According to Nelson’s bio, he is an insurance agent. A respectable profession, yet one that appears to fall under the jurisdiction of the office of the CFO and Department of Financial Services, and not the Office of Insurance Regulation. Right off that bat it would appear that Nelson would fall into the ineligible category.

With all due respect to the Cabinet, Florida is a unique state with complex insurance issues. Our residents deserve the most qualified candidate we can find, not someone that can’t even make it past the first interview question.

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