Insurance leader visits Cleveland
by Denise Strub
May 12, 2013 | 2496 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
“I love what I do. I love serving the state of Mississippi,” said Mike Chaney, Mississippi commissioner of insurance, recently when he visited Cleveland.

Chaney was the guest speaker at the Rotary Club of Cleveland, where he had longtime friendships with several of the members.

His topic was to highlight the daunting list of his responsibilities for the state but he couldn’t begin without longtime friend attorney Kirkham Povall telling a few stories about the Lexington native and Mississippi State University graduate.

“I first time met Mike Chaney on a hot Saturday afternoon in Lexington in July 1966 when Mary and Mike were married at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church,” said Povall. “Acolytes in the Episcopal Church usually are young people. I was a rising senior and I didn’t actually think it was my job to be the acolyte but we were close friends and families.

“Mike is an active commissioner of insurance,” he said, telling the audience about Chaney’s history and then explaining that Chaney promised “to keep it short because all the topics he talks about are very involved.”

“If I told stories about everyone I knew here, we’d be here until 5 o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Keith Fulcher’s mother used to write all my insurance when I was in business in Vicksburg and I can tell stories about Laurence Mellen. You might get recommitted,” said Chaney.

“I’m not going to try to get too detailed with you because I talked to some home builders last night and Mary kicked me about 10 times. I can’t stand too good on one leg.

“I want to tell you this — you have some great elected representatives and state senators in Jackson. Willie Simmons is a non-partisan person to me. Willie is a great guy. He represents your area very well along with Buck Clark (and the others),” he said.

“Keep them elected and go to the ballot box.”

Chaney said his department operates with a $12 million budget. “Not a lot of money in the scheme of things.”

He said he has the same number of people working in his department today as he did when he took over the office in 2008.

Chaney explained much of his budget goes to the training of fire personnel, as he is also the state fire marshal.

Chaney’s other duties include involvement with: Health Insurance Management; Mississippi Automobile Insurance, Mississippi Comprehensive Health Insurance Risk Pool Association; Fire Prevention Code Board; Insurance Guaranty; Life & Health Insurance Guaranty Association; Mississippi Tort Claims Board; Rural Risk Underwriting Association; Workers Compensation Assigned Risk Plan / Mississippi Workers Compensation Assigned Risk Pool; Rural Fire Truck Acquisition Assistance Review Committee; State Employees Health Insurance Board Advisory Council; and State Liquefied Compressed Gas.

He was recently selected by his peers at the National Association of Insurance Commissioners to chair the prestigious Property and Casualty “C” Committee. The NAIC is the organization of state insurance regulators for all 50 of the United States, Washington, D.C. and five US territories.

The Property and Casualty Committee deals with insurance issues and regulations for catastrophe insurance, crop insurance, earthquakes, terrorism, title insurance, workers’ compensation, surplus lines and risk retention, among many other issues. The mission of the committee is to monitor and respond to regulatory issues associated with property and casualty insurance including their delivery and cost. The committee has four task forces that report to it and eight working groups to assist with deliberations.

Chaney ended his talk by talking about the health insurance exchange and telling the audience to make sure Cleveland and Bolivar County leaders are made aware of the changes, which would be happening in health care.

“Let me tell you one thing, I love to get up and go to work. My health is still good. I will run for reelection as long as my health holds out. You don’t do it for the money. You do it to make things better,” he said.

Chaney said he would be back in Cleveland on Friday for Delta Council, which begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Bologna Performing Arts Center.