Mary Squires [IS-D]

One of the most important statewide offices to be filled this year is Insurance
Commissioner. This office directly and immediately impacts every person and
business in the state of Georgia. The Department of Insurance is one of the
state’s main economic engines and the position of Insurance Commissioner is
too important to be filled by someone who wants to use it to line their own
pockets, use it as a stepping-stone for higher office, or is unwilling to listen
to the concerns of citizens and professionals alike.

Growing up in Augusta, my parents taught me the value of hard work and the
importance of family and service. I enlisted in the Army in 1986. I started as a
Private First Class with the Military Police Corps. I left the Army after 10
years of service with the rank of Captain in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical
Warfare. After leaving the Army, I wanted to continue my public service. At the
time, I lived in a Gwinnett County district that was 60% Republican. Gang
violence in my area was rising and the incumbent State Representative was a
do-nothing bench warmer. Knowing that we needed change I decided to run against
him. I didn’t know how to run a campaign. So I did what my family and the Army
taught me to do: devise a plan and out-work him. I met every registered voter in
the district. It didn’t matter whether they were a Republican, Democrat or
Independent. Sure, not everyone agreed with my positions, but they appreciated
my honesty and knew I would always treat their issues and concerns with fairness
and respect, not partisanship. I won that election and went on to serve another
term in the State House, as well as a in the State Senate. I left after six
years in the General Assembly. I promised the voters of my district I wouldn’t
be a career legislator. Too often good public stewards become entrenched,
lifelong politicians.

My ten years in the Army, both as an Enlistedman and a Nuclear, Biological and
Chemical Warfare Officer, taught me it is not enough to have a vision – I must
have a plan, one that I’m ready to implement the day I take office. Here is my
plan:

Establish an Around-the-Clock Consumer Protection and Crisis Command Center.
Whenever you have an insurance or fire crisis, the Georgia Department of
Insurance will be there to take your call, answer your questions, and guide you
to a resolution.

Make Georgia a National Insurance and Risk Finance Hub.
Increase competition in the insurance market and bring new jobs to Georgia.
Georgia can be a national leader in alternative risk transfer innovation and
regulated change. Not only will innovative competition save money, it will open
new markets and strengthen our economy.

Create Georgia Fair Score.
Your credit score is used to determine your auto insurance rate, and has nothing
to do with your driving record. Military personnel serving our country overseas
are also affected by these practices. Georgia Fair Score will base your auto
insurance rate on your driving record not on unrelated financial circumstances.

Establish an Arson Prosecution and Conviction Team.
GBI records indicate that 1637 arsons were reported in 2008, 642 more than just
four years before, but arson convictions are down. Georgia Department of
Insurance arson investigations are underfunded and under-staffed. With the Arson
Prosecution and Conviction Team, Georgia will have the best trained arson
investigators in the country, and arsonists will be prosecuted to the full
extent of the law.

Establish a Claim and Fraud Enforcement Squad.
Insurance claim payouts have decreased dramatically in the past decade. The
reasons are varied: fraudulent claims, excessive denials, and unpaid claims. The
Claim Enforcement Squad will fine, prosecute, and weed out individuals and
businesses that commit claim fraud and abuse, or deny and refuse to pay
legitimate claims.

Experience is an important factor in determining the success of the next
Insurance Commissioner. I’ve worked in insurance most of my life. After
college, I worked for my father’s business management and government relations
firm. Our clients included Prudential, Life of Georgia, and ING. Since leaving
the Senate, I worked in Care Management, Disease Management, and PPO
Administration. I served on the Government Relations Committee of the
Self-Insurance Institute of America, Inc. In 2007, I became the Executive
Director of the Georgia Society of Professional Benefit Administrators, Inc., a
self-insured health care trade association, and work in the health benefits,
workers’ compensation, stop loss, and alternative risk transfer.