The Maryland House and Senate, backing substantively different bills to reorganize the Insurance Division, are each still headed for the same destination.
The House bill would create an independent, self-funding regulatory entity supported by fees, penalties and a surtax on Maryland insurers. Much of this funding would go to improve monitoring and processing capabilities necessary for national accreditation. There would also be a major effort to combat insurance fraud.
The Senate version, inexplicably, stops short of autonomy. It provides that the insurance commissioner be appointed by the governor and that money raised for the division's funds cannot be used by the Department of Licensing and Regulation for any other purpose. It does not, however, remove the agency from the meddling of DLR's secretary, William Fogle: It would continue to operate as a unit of Mr. Fogle's department. An additional problem is that the complex method of allocating fees and surtaxes would hamstring the use of the surtax for fraud prevention. It would not solve this vexing problem.