NEWS RELEASE

Acting Governor Richard J. Codey

Date: February 2, 2005

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Kelley Heck – 609-777-2600

 

HOLLY C. BAKKE RESIGNS AS COMMISSIONER OF BANKING AND INSURANCE

 

(TRENTON) – Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today accepted the resignation of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly C. Bakke. 

 

“I appreciate that Commissioner Bakke stayed on during the transition, and I recognize the importance her family played in her decision to resign,” Codey said. “Commissioner Bakke’s commitment to improving insurance, banking and real estate services for New Jersey’s consumers will be greatly missed.

 

Through her leadership, New Jersey residents have protection from predatory lenders, have more choices in coverage, cost and companies when they select their auto insurance and have a consumer outreach program that is second to none.”

 

In her resignation letter to the Acting Governor, Bakke indicated her desire to spend more time with her son and to become more involved with her community. Her resignation is effective March 1.

 

“Over three years ago, I took an oath to justly perform all my duties, under the authority of the people to the best of my ability,” Bakke wrote.  “Today, I can look back and know that, with the support of two governors, the Legislature, and the knowledge, skill and wisdom of Department of Banking and Insurance staff, that auto insurance consumers are now in the driver’s seat, the state’s most vulnerable citizens are protected from predatory loans, bank and insurance services are strong, an initiatives aimed at making healthcare more affordable and available are underway.”

 

Since Bakke became Commissioner:

 

·        New Jersey enacted groundbreaking auto insurance reforms that included the nation’s toughest penalties for auto insurance fraud, nationally recognized consumer protections, innovative methods for trimming the rank of uninsured motorists, and steps to put downward pressure on rates for good drivers.

 

      The reforms prompted two carriers to enter New Jersey – Mercury and GEICO, the nation’s fifth largest private passenger auto insurer and encouraged State Farm to remain in the state.  The reforms have led to more than $300 million in rate reductions for more than two million New Jersey drivers.  In addition, 41,000 previously uninsured drivers are now insured and contributing to the system and 1,200 new agents are now serving consumers across the state.

 

     

·        The predatory lending law is protecting New Jersey’s consumers and providing a competitive market and a fair place for lenders to do business.  In 2004, the Department approved 429 new licensed entities or individuals and 963 new branches.

 

·        The Department began initiatives aimed at making healthcare coverage in New Jersey more affordable.  The work of a healthcare task force addressing the problems of the uninsured and the challenge of the individual and small group healthcare providers is now under review.

 

A copy of Bakke’s letter to the Acting Governor is attached.

 

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February 1, 2005

 

The Honorable Richard J. Codey

Acting Governor

State of New Jersey

PO Box 001

Trenton, NJ  08625-0001

 

Dear Governor Codey:

 

            Today brings a period of reflection to a close.  Since asking me to continue with your Administration, I have heard you speak often of the importance of keeping work and family in balance.  As one of the longest serving banking and insurance commissioners in recent history, I am not sure that I have always been mindful of that balance.  That is going to change however as I spend more time with my son and again become involved in my community.  I regret that this means I will be unable to continue my work with you and will resign my position on March 1, 2005.

 

            Over three years ago I took an oath to justly perform all my duties, under the authority of the people, to the best of my ability.  Today, I can look back and know that, with the support of two governors, the Legislature, and the knowledge, skill and wisdom of Department of Banking and Insurance staff, that auto insurance consumers are now in the drivers seat, the state’s most vulnerable citizens are protected from predatory loans, bank and insurance services are strong, and initiatives aimed at making healthcare more affordable and available are underway.  Looking forward, I am pleased that I will complete the second status report to the Governor on the Auto Insurance Marketplace before my departure.

 

            Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank the citizens of New Jersey.  When we met – whether it was in their homes, at Motor Vehicle Commission offices, their local malls, on the radio or through my commissioner’s email, they challenged me to do more and suggested ways their hard-earned money could better work for them.  As a career public servant, I will always remember and appreciate the opportunity I had to work on their behalf.

 

                                                            All my best,

 

                                                            Holly

 

c:          Donald Bryan, Director of Insurance

            H. Robert Tillman, Director of Banking 

                                                                                                 ###

 

Photos and audio and video clips from Acting Governor Codey's public events are available

in the Acting Governor's Newsroom section on the State of New Jersey web page, http://www.nj.gov/gov_newsroom.html.

 

 



  February 3, 2005