John Mamalakis [IS-R]

“I firmly believe that someone with professional insurance experience should head the Georgia Insurance Department. My candidacy offers voters an opportunity to elect someone with broad insurance experience, not the politicians and/or attorneys that have run the office for over 35 years.

I would work to improve the professional image of the GID and work to make us one of the best in the country. With the University of Georgia and Georgia State University having two of the finest risk management programs in the country, we have the talent pool to recruit from for the long term. I have personally met and worked with a number of GID personnel and with leadership and management I believe they form the nucleus of change to a department based on insurance principles and focus, rather than political and administrative pressures.

I would modernize and streamline the department for efficiency. We need to upgrade our technology to help us. While we likely could never go paperless, we at least need to be moving in that direction. By doing so, we can integrate and correspond internally as well as with other state, regulatory and industry organizations. It will also improve collaborative and cooperative efforts within the department as well as with other state agencies.

I would initially review all workflow processes and make immediate adjustments based on those findings. Our first adjustment must be to improve our efforts in arson and fraud investigation which continue to have a negative impact on premiums. We also must improve the response time for insurance companies who have applied to write business in Georgia. More financially sound companies in Georgia, means more choice for consumers and choice is what helps keep premiums and rates in check.

The current prior approval process drains too much of the department’s stretched resources. While I favor moving to file and use for all lines of insurance rather than the current prior approval process to alleviate administrative backlog, it has also shown it will increase, not decrease competition. I do however feel strongly that the Insurance Department retain regulatory control in the event companies file rates that are not supported or that unreasonable or unfairly discriminatory.

Finally, I would emphasize the importance of safety and risk management in all insurance matters and work with companies to insure standards are being adhered to by policyholders whether required by law or regulation or through loss control recommendations.

My campaign slogan is “Distinctive Name, Distinctive Choice”. I believe I am a distinctive choice in that I am not a politician. I am not interested in the office for future political gain. I am not an attorney or industry lobbyist or consultant. I have not sought major contributions from the insurance industry. I have attained the highest professional designation in property and casualty and also hold a professional designation in workers compensation. I am licensed in property & casualty and life and health. I am interested in utilizing my knowledge of the industry and respect within the industry to help consumers and businesses in Georgia.

I have been in the insurance industry for over 35 years, primarily as an independent insurance agent, but also in working in alternative insurance markets including captives and self insurance trusts. I have experience in personal and commercial lines sales, management and administration.

While there are other candidates with insurance background in the race, I have the broadest and most professional background. More than 75% of insurance issues are property and casualty issues and those with primarily a health insurance background will be at a disadvantage. Some tout their experience in healthcare, but the Georgia Department of Insurance does not control rates for health insurance. While I agree that Federal healthcare should be challenged, the market place must change in order for us to keep premiums from continue to spiral out of control. We need more competition in Georgia and we must work with the legislature to review the mandates and their effect on rates as well as seeking additional ways to attract companies to Georgia rather than allow selling across state lines.

I am a Trustee on Armstrong Atlantic State University Foundation, President of the local CPCU chapter, graduate of Leadership Savannah, and Past President of the Independent Insurance Agents of Savannah. With my professional and leadership experience, I truly believe I can help the GID transform into a professional and responsive department that Georgians can trust and be proud of and that business and individual consumers can benefit from.”