|By Nassim Benchaabane, The Wichita Eagle|
|McClatchy-Tribune Information Services|
The state insurance department needs to regulate the industry in a way that creates a healthy, competitive business environment, they said. Companies in competition will lower prices, offer specialized products and keep their promises in order to avoid losing customers. The market as it is now, candidates said, is not healthy enough.
"If there's something they agree on across the board, it's trying to increase competition," said Rep.
The office of insurance commissioner regulates insurance companies, educates Kansans about insurance policies and investigates claims against insurance providers. The
Anderson co-owns a family business that trains insurance agents for the state licensing exam. Though he would like to see more insurance employers in the state, he said the overall insurance climate is a good one to do business in.
"The health of the industry is good," he said. "There is an opportunity to attract more employers, administrative offices and jobs to the state, but insurance is a complex enough product that it has to be regulated.
"The first thing that has to be addressed is whether companies are holding up their promises to Kansans."
Praeger said the Republican party has become more politically conservative since she took office.
"Our most important responsibility is to protect consumers," she said. "The overarching question we ought to be asking is should the insurance department continue to be a department that does what is best for Kansans or should it become political?"
Powell said he is an advocate of the free market and state regulation of health care, and regulators step in when a company tries to find loopholes to avoid paying insurance claims.
"If companies aren't earning the right to do business with somebody, then they can go somewhere else," he said. "The free market is better gauge to run health care than the federal government."
"Over the past 20 years we've had fewer and fewer companies doing business in
"Companies simply want a predictable regulatory environment to grow their business in, and that will result in benefits for the consumer."
State senator and insurance committee chairman