Thursday, 30 June 2005 17:00

TX gov. Perry appoints Mike Geeslin as insurance commissioner

Texas Governor Rick Perry has named Mike Geeslin as the state's Insurance Commissioner. The commissioner oversees the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI), which regulates the insurance industry. 

"Mike Geeslin will be a strong and steady voice for continued improvements in the insurance industry in Texas while protecting consumers by ensuring that insurance is available and provided at fair rates," Perry said. "As insurance commissioner, he will play an integral role in overseeing major reforms to our workers' compensation system. His expertise in insurance matters and management skills will serve Texans well in this important new role."

Geeslin, 36, has served as deputy commissioner for policy at TDI since January 2003. Prior to that time, he was a budget and policy advisor on insurance and regulatory matters to Perry in both the governor's office and lieutenant governor's office. He also worked as chief of staff for state Senator Tom Haywood, as a legislative aide to Senator Florence Shapiro, and as an assistant to Con-gressman Joe Barton.

Geeslin is a 1991 graduate of Texas A&M University, where he received a bachelor's degree in communications with a minor in business administration. While attending A&M, he was a member of the Corps of Cadets and served as a Ross Volunteer. He attended public schools in Red Oak, Texas.

He and his wife, Danica Milios-Geeslin, live in Austin and have three children. Geeslin's appointment is subject to Senate confirmation. His term will expire February 1, 2007.

Three bills aimed at insurance fraud

Governor Perry also recently signed three pieces of legislation to help combat insurance fraud.

Governor Perry signed into law House Bills 2388 and 3376. HB 2388 by State Representative Senfronia Thompson of Houston will help state officials determine how bad insurance fraud is in Texas by calling for every insurance company in Texas to report their cases of insurance fraud to the Texas Department of Insurance Fraud Unit.

The required reporting should give fraud investigators a handle on how prevalent the crime is, its cost and where it is taking place, allowing the insurance commissioner to pinpoint his resources in fighting insurance fraud cases.

HB 3376 by State Representative Larry Taylor extends the statute of limitations in fighting insurance fraud from three to five years, more clearly defines the act of insurance fraud and strengthens the money laundering statute.

SB 781, by State Senator Eddie Lucio, gives prosecutors a stronger hand in sentencing criminals who intentionally, knowingly or recklessly commit insurance fraud.

All three bills were strongly supported by the Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud whose chairman, Craig Sparks, said the legislation is the committee's first step toward reducing what is believed to be a billion dollar crime in Texas.

"Giving Texas prosecutors the right tools to fight insurance fraud will benefit every Texan," said Sparks. "States that have had success in fighting insurance fraud have seen reduced insurance rates."

Bring fraud to screeching halt

Sparks added, "In the past, repeat offenders have found insurance fraud as an easy way to make money. We're hoping this legislation will help bring this criminal activity to a screeching halt."

The Texas Committee on Insurance Fraud was created in 2003 with participation from every major insurance company in Texas, the Texas Department of Insurance, the Texas District and County Attorney's Association, the International Association of Special Investigative Units, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas, the Texas Association of Business, AARP and the Office of the Attorney General.