Insurance Department Names First Consumer Panel

Contact: Michael Bownes, General Counsel


Insurance Commissioner David Parsons has named 15 Alabamians to the Department of Insurance’s first Consumer Liaison Committee. "I want to make sure that Alabama consumers have a voice that will be heard on insurance issues because as a group they are affected more than any others," said Parsons. Parsons went on to state, "The appointment of these 15 talented Alabamians, with their diverse backgrounds, will help ensure that the interests of consumers are represented at the table when decisions are made for a legislative program, administrative rules, enforcement priorities and long-range plans. For me to make good decisions as Alabama’s Insurance Commissioner, I need to hear all points of view." Parsons stated, "While we view ourselves as consumer advocates, it is important to establish this direct line of communication with diverse groups."

Among other issues, the Consumer Committee members will discuss proposed legislation the Department is considering filing with the Alabama legislature. The Committee also plans on discussing various current issues facing consumers such as how credit histories are being used in issuing policies and how it affects the price of an insurance policy. Further discussions will include recent concerns about mold exclusions in home owners' policies. One of the key areas the Committee will look at and discuss is solutions for problems in the area of available and affordable health insurance.

Not only has the Department appointed the Consumer Committee, they will shortly appoint an industry council to provide better communication between the Department and insurers that do business in Alabama. These boards should provide better communication between insurers, the Department, and consumers.

The Department has established these Boards, and its members will hold a term for a period of one (1) year. While the Department felt the size of the group had to be limited to be a manageable number, there are other consumers, consumer groups, and insurers which will be invited to participate in future Boards.

Parsons stated, "We had a lot of individuals show an interest to serve on the Boards, and we would hope they stay interested as we plan on making these Boards a permanent support group for the Department. This is a work in progress, and it will always be important to bring in new people and new ideas."

Among the Alabamians appointed by the Department to the first Consumer Liaison Committee are:

Mr. Mike Winter Advocacy Representative for AARP Alabama
Ms. Susan Martin Vice President
Better Business Bureau of Central Alabama and the Wiregrass
J. Ray Warren, J.D., CPCU Claims Manager
State of Alabama, Department of Finance; Retired insurance agent; Member, State Personnel Board.
Mac McArthur, J.D. Executive Director
Alabama State Employees Association; Former Director of the Alabama Ethics Commission.
Representative Craig Ford Alabama House of Representatives
Melinda Waters, Esquire Director
Legal Services Corporation of Alabama
Mr. Ralph Stacy President and Chief Executive Officer
Chamber of Commerce Association of Alabama
Billington Garrett, Esquire Chief of General Civil Litigation and Administrative Law Division
Attorney General’s Office
Colonel James Alexander Director
Alabama Department of Public Safety
Ms. Judy Meeks Program Director
State Health Insurance Assistance
Alabama Dept. of Senior Services
Mr. Joe Bennett Cousins Insurance Agency
Mr. Kimble Forrister Executive Director
Alabama Arise
Dr. Rick Love Physician and President, Alabama Society of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery
Thomas Methvin, Esquire Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C.
Rick Harris, J.D. Director
Bureau of Health Provider Standards
Alabama Dept. of Public Health

The Consumer Liaison Committee will hold its first meeting on September 4, 2002.

ALDOI will post details whey they become available, on the initial September 4th 2002, meeting of the Consumer Liaison Committee on its Web site.