The first three weeks of my tenure as Kansas Insurance Commissioner have reinforced my desire to make the Kansas Insurance Department (KID) as responsive, businesslike and constituent-friendly as we can. That is the only way to do our business of insurance regulation.
The Kansas Statutes Annotated, the state’s book of laws, identifies the department’s responsibilities as educating consumers and advocating for them, regulating insurance companies and licensing insurance agents.
We also work closely with many other departments and agencies in state government, including the Kansas House and Senate insurance-related committees. In all we do, we perform the regulatory and administrative functions as defined by law. But we don’t create law. The Legislature has that responsibility.
We at KID are initiating several projects that will help you as consumers. We are redesigning our web page to make it more engaging for consumers, easier to use and perhaps more intuitive. We are also preparing a formalized disaster response so we can be of greater consumer assistance when the next tornado or other major disaster occurs in Kansas.
Also on our plate are issues relating to health insurance, long term care coverage, homeowners insurance and other lines of insurance that we regulate.
The insurance department directly impacts nearly every Kansan. Accordingly, we will weigh all of our proposed actions carefully and wisely because of the impact we can have on so many people.
We will work to actively recruit more insurance and insurance-related companies to locate and operate in Kansas. We recently formed a working group to explore options to better attract companies for this Kansas business sector. We also will encourage those who are already here to actively compete for your insurance business.
We will always focus on the consumer first. Kansans understand that a robust, competitive insurance market will benefit them because more companies will be competing for their business. We will look for ways to reduce the regulatory burden on companies so the companies will be able to more aggressively compete for your business with better coverages and prices than what you may have otherwise obtained.
Our goals in the department include being open, transparent and helpful. The business of insurance can be daunting and overwhelming for consumers. That is why consumer education and awareness are top priorities for KID employees.
We invite Kansans to use our toll-free Consumer Assistance Hotline, (800) 432-2484, to talk to a consumer assistance representative. The hotline is staffed from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
We know insurance matters. And we want you to feel the same way.