Dem hopefuls for Insurance Commish clash in WDEL debate

By Frank Gerace 2:20am, August 31, 2012 - Updated 2:19pm, August 31, 2012
Sparks flew at a WDEL debate Thursday between the four Democrats running for state Insurance Commissioner.

Dennis Spivack accused incumbent Karen Weldin Stewart of being less than truthful when she said she hadn't talked directly with the parties involved in this year's affiliation agreement between Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Delaware and Pittsburgh-based Highmark.

He says, "The Insurance Commissioner's place was flooded with lawyers and lobbyists. Don't tell me that the Insurance Commissioner was not talking, directly or indirectly, to some of these people, and if you're not, then you are failing in your duty, because you need to lead."

Click here to listen

Stewart said she was legally barred from communicating directly with the principal players, she agreed to the deal only if in included several conditions, and the result was lower premiums.

She says, "I hope Mr. Spivack understands what ex parte communications means, because I was not allowed to talk to them directly. I did have them lower, put $45 million into lowering premiums for people in Delaware who are in the individual market and the small business market."

Click here to listen

Mitch Crane accused Stewart of breaking a campaign promise to ban the use of credit scoring in determining insurance rates.

He says, "When the Commissioner was elected, I wrote, at her request, a bill that would ban the use of credit scoring in all areas of insurance, including new policies. That bill was never filed--it was never even signed."

Click here to listen

Paul Gallagher says one thing has been clear to him over the last 4 years--that insurance rates in Delaware are too high.

He says, "And that somebody strong needs to step forward, be an advocate for the consumer and draw a line in the sand and stop these rates from going up."

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Stewart, Spivack, Crane and Gallagher will face one another in the September 11th primary, with the winner taking on Republican Benjamin Mobley in November.

To listen to the entire debate, click here.

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