Although it lacks the flash of the governor’s office, Georgia’s Insurance Commission has the ability to transform the lives of Georgians by protecting Georgia families and overseeing insurance corporations. The Insurance Commissioner chooses whether to help insurance companies to continue to rake in obscene profits by taking advantage of consumers or whether to help improve the safety, health and well-being of Georgia’s citizens.
In the twenty years leading up to 2010, when Hudgens was elected, Georgia’s auto insurance rates were keeping pace with the national average. Georgia was 19th in the nation for car insurance rates.
However, since Hudgens was elected, car insurance costs have skyrocketed. Under Hudgens, Georgia has suffered some of the highest auto insurance rate increases in the nation –- more than twice the national average. The state has ranked first or second for highest annual rate increases in the country, for the past four years.
His entire tenure has been characterized by ratepayers being taken advantage of by insurance companies.
Here are just a few terrible things he’s done, to jog your memory:
- He compared pre-existing conditions to a car accident that is the driver’s fault.
- Hudgens thought that insurance companies that make billions in profits every year should be allowed to refuse coverage to people.
- He thought it was more important for him to protect his allies in the insurance industry than to stand up for Georgia families.
- He campaigned to prevent Georgians from benefitting from the Affordable Care Act.
- Just two months ago, he approved premium increases of more than 50 percent for the four companies still participating in Georgia’s health care exchange next year.
Hudgens also accepted a trove of gifts and donations from insurance lobbies throughout his time as insurance commissioner. When asked why he didn’t follow the executive branch rule (no gifts worth more than $25), Hudgens replied by saying he thinks the executive order applies not to his employees but to the people Deal appoints and whose paychecks have his signature.
There are three Republicans and two Democrats running to take Hudgens place as insurance commissioner. Hudgens endorsed Jay Florence, one of the Republican candidates, and donated $6,600 to Florence’s campaign the day Hudgens announced he wasn’t running for re-election.
In addition to getting campaign donations from Hudgens, Florence has also raised $731,000, much of it from insurance firms and other industries the office is supposed to regulate. Sounds like a repeat of Hudgens, who also raised a lot of his campaign financing from insurance executives.
As long as our officials continue to accept money from the industries they’re supposed to regulate, corporate profits will grow while Georgia families will suffer. Electing honest people in important regulatory positions will help improve the quality of life for Georgians and make our state a safer, more just place to live.