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Lee names Lawrence commissioner of Commerce & Insurance Department

Gov. Bill Lee speaks to reporters during budget hearings in Nashville on Nov. 9, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

Gov. Bill Lee has promoted Carter Lawrence to commissioner of the Commerce & Insurance. Lawrence, who had served as the department’s chief deputy, succeeds Hodgen Mainda, who resigned following a sexual misconduct investigation. Mainda has denied any wrongdoing.

Lawrence previously served as interim commissioner after former agency head Julie Mix McPeak left for the private sector last year.

Here’s the release from the governor’s office:

NASHVILLE – Today Tennessee Governor Bill Lee announced Carter Lawrence will serve in his cabinet as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance, effective immediately.

“Carter is a proven public servant who has stewarded key priorities for the administration throughout his tenure and I’m confident he’ll continue to support Tennessee businesses and consumers with integrity,” said Gov. Lee. “We appreciate his dedication to the Department of Commerce & Insurance and look forward to his continued service.”

Lawrence currently serves as Chief Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer at the Department of Commerce & Insurance.

He has also served on Tennessee’s Economic Recovery Group throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, assisting Gov. Lee’s efforts to reboot the state’s economy.

A lifelong Tennessean and Nashville native, Lawrence earned his Doctor of Jurisprudence and a Master of Business Administration at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Prior, he graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois.

He currently resides in Nashville with his wife and three children and is a member of Nashville’s Church of the Redeemer.

Print your own: New Department of Commerce & Insurance licensing system going more paperless

The Tennessee Commerce and Insurance Department is going more paperless. Here are the details from the agency:

NASHVILLE — As part of ongoing efforts to modernize insurance licensing, save money and remove barriers that hinder the Volunteer State’s economy, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) announces a system upgrade that will create a more paperless insurance licensing process.

Starting Tuesday, Oct. 13 by 9 a.m. CDT, TDCI will go live on the newest version of State Based Systems (SBS), a web-based application through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) that supports states’ insurance regulation. When launched, the new system will mean:

_ No more paper licenses will be printed and mailed by TDCI. Instead, licensees can print a license any time by using the SBS License Manager tool.

_ No more renewal notifications will be mailed to Tennessee insurance producers. To be contacted by TDCI, licensees must keep a current business email updated in TDCI’s system. A current and updated email address is imperative to receive notifications. Licensees can update their email online at www.nipr.com by clicking on the ‘Change Contact Information’ link.

_ Licenses will now be eligible for renewal up to 90 days prior to their expiration date.

_ Email notifications will automatically be sent once a license is approved.

_ Licensees will continue to be able to print their license and view their CE transcripts online.

“With over 200,000 licensed insurance agents in Tennessee and $44.4 billion in premium volume written in 2019, it is incumbent on TDCI to continually improve our processes in order to create efficiencies and help Tennessee’s insurance professionals succeed while providing responsible regulation to help protect consumers,” said TDCI Commissioner Hodgen Mainda.

During the transition period that began Oct. 7, NIPR and SBS services, including licensing operations and online consumer complaint filing, will be suspended. Consumers should contact TDCI Consumer Insurance Services at 615-741-2218 or 1-800-342-4029 with questions or to file a complaint.

“The SBS improvement will save thousands of dollars in taxpayer monies as well as countless man hours since paper licenses will no longer need to be printed or mailed by our staff,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner of Insurance Rachel Jrade-Rice. “I encourage consumers or insurance producers who may have questions about the upgrade to contact our team at the appropriate contact numbers in order to receive additional information.”

Entities with questions pertaining to licensing should contact TDCI Agent Licensing at 1-888-416-0868 or 615-741-2693. Questions about the SBS transition should be directed to the SBS Service Desk sbshelp@naic.org or 816-783-8990.

Federal insurance marketplace carriers now competing in 81 of 95 Tennessee counties

Six insurance carriers are now competing for business through the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace in 81 of 95 Tennessee counties.

Among the five companies that have previously operated in the state, three (BlueCross, Bright Health, and Oscar Health) have proposed rate increases for upcoming fiscal year, while two (Celtic/Ambetter Insurance and Cigna) are planning decreases. UnitedHelathcare is a new entrant.

“Increased competition and lower prices perfectly align with Governor Lee’s vision to help support Tennessee consumers.”,” Commerce and Insurance Commissioner Hogden Mainda said in a statement.

The full release follows.

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