Eleanor Kitzman appointed top insurance regulator in Texas
A consumer advocate says Eleanor Kitzman, who’s been tapped as the next insurance commissioner for Texas, has a “difficult job ahead of her.”
On July 20, Texas Gov. Rick Perry appointed Kitzman to lead the Texas Department of Insurance, which regulates insurers that operate in the state. Her appointment takes effect Aug. 21. Kitzman resigned as executive director of the South Carolina Budget and Control Board effective Aug. 9; she was named to that job earlier this year.
|Texas Gov. Rick Perry named Eleanor Kitzman as the state’s new insurance commissioner.|
Kitzman quit as South Carolina insurance commissioner in 2007 after a falling-out with then-Gov. Mark Sanford over coastal insurance. Kitzman unsuccessfully sought the Republican nomination for South Carolina lieutenant governor in 2010.
Alex Winslow, executive director of consumer advocacy group Texas Watch, says in a statement that Kitzman has “a difficult job ahead of her. Texas homeowners are looking to her to fulfill the promise of fair rates and decent coverage for all policyholders. They also expect her to police the insurance industry and guarantee the full, fair and prompt payment of valid claims.”
Winslow adds: “As the economy continues to struggle, homeowners are facing ever-increasing insurance costs with dwindling protection. They expect their insurance commissioner to look out for them by working toward a balanced insurance marketplace — not a market that is by, for and of the insurance industry.”
For his part, Perry says Kitzman’s insurance expertise “will make her a strong advocate for insurance customers in Texas.”
Kitzman will replace Mike Geeslin, who announced in January that he was stepping down as Texas insurance commissioner. Perry named Geeslin to the post in 2005.
Mark Hanna, a spokesman for the Insurance Council of Texas, a nonprofit trade association, says in a statement that Kitzman is “uniquely qualified” to be Texas insurance commissioner, which he calls one of the toughest jobs in state government.
“Her experience in running the insurance commission in South Carolina as well as representing insurers and managing insurance companies should give her a jump start in assessing the Texas marketplace,” Hanna says.
Before entering public service, Kitzman worked at several insurance companies, including Driver’s Choice Insurance, and worked for law firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where she represented insurers. She earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Houston and a law degree from the South Texas College of Law in Houston.