Georgia insurance commissioner helped himself to licenses before leaving office
On his last day in office, the insurance commissioner of Georgia committed a major faux pas: He issued himself licenses to sell insurance and adjust claims, rather than take mandatory classes or licensing tests that all other Georgia residents must undergo to sell insurance.
John Oxendine told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he didn’t take the tests because he didn’t want to be a distraction to other applicants. Besides, Oxendine says his 16 years of experience regulating the industry is proof enough that he’s capable.
“If 16 years doesn’t give you a little bit of insurance experience, I don’t know what does,” says Oxendine, a Republican. “I think that’s (worth) a little bit more than taking a test and taking a class.”
Some state lawmakers are unhappy with Oxendine’s decision, although there appears to be nothing the state can do about it, as current state law doesn’t forbid it.
“I think it smacks of favoritism,” state Sen. George Hooks, a Democrat, told the Journal-Constitution, “and if I were the current insurance commissioner, I would look at it very carefully.”
The current Georgia insurance commissioner, Ralph Hudgens, a Republican, told the Journal-Constitution that he will advocate for legislation to prevent anyone from doing what Oxendine did. In fact, state lawmakers already are working on such legislation.
“This is an instance where there is no regulatory remedy for bad judgment, but I want to make sure it does not happen again,” Hudgens says.