New Mexico eyes separate insurance dept

Legislation creating an independent state office overseeing the insurance industry in New Mexico is heading for approval.

The bill was unanimously approved by the New Mexico House on Monday and cleared for Senate floor action Wednesday morning.

It would create a nine-member commission that will appoint the superintendent of insurance.

The bill is HB 45.

It would implement a voter-approved constitutional amendment that removes New Mexico's insurance regulator from the Public Regulation Commission's supervision.

The bill says that the state Legislature would name four members of the commission, the governor will select four members and a ninth member will be appointed by the others on the commission.

The five-member PRC currently appoints New Mexico's insurance superintendents, who regulate insurance policies and rates. The commission can also remove superintendents with cause.

Under the proposal heading to the Senate, the insurance superintendent will serve four-year terms and can be removed by the commission for certain reasons, including incompetence and malfeasance in office.

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