State Treasurer Richard Moore said today that he has asked the Attorney General's office to take a second look at a new law that has led to the "unintended consequence" of just one insurance company having access to the addresses of roughly 200,000 state and local retirees to sell supplemental insurance policies.
That firm, State Insurance Services of Raleigh, is a politically-connected company that includes two men who have raised money for Moore in previous election campaigns, and a third who is a fundraiser for him in his bid for governor, reports Dan Kane. Moore made his plans official today by filling out the necessary paperwork with the State Board of Elections.
"We've already asked them specifically to look at the address pieces to say are you sure we can't give out addresses to anybody that wants them or to a broader list of folks, and we await their answer," Moore said.
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The ban on releasing the information to other companies, and to employee associations that also offer insurance, has drawn complaints from competitors. The lawmaker who wrote the provision said he did not intend for it to prevent the release of retirees' addresses.
The state Attorney General has already reversed a previous opinion on the new law, saying it was not intended to prevent the release of pensions paid to public employees. Moore's staff has since begun releasing that information.
Moore said that State Insurance Services won the right to be his office's preferred vendor of dental and vision plans for retirees after an "open and competitive" selection process seven years ago. Last year, the company won a three-year extension.
The contract does not involve bids. State Insurance Services does not pay the state for access to retirees, nor does the state pay it to select insurance companies that provide the coverage. State Insurance Services makes its money by receiving commissions for each policy they sell to retirees.
Moore said he was not involved in the company's selection. He could not say how companies were solicited to pitch for the preferred status, or what other companies competed for it.
Moore would not release information as to how much money one of State Insurance Services' principals, Wilson County Sheriff Wayne Gay, has raised for his campaign. Moore noted that state law did not require him to disclose that information.
Moore and his wife, Noel, visited the State Board of Elections at 2 p.m. to file for office. Moore, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue and retired Air Force Col. Dennis Nielsen are vying for the Democratic nomination for governor.
Moore used the occasion to promote a stimulus package that he said will help the state during the current economic downturn. He released one piece of it last week — a doubling of the income limit for the property tax homestead exclusion for seniors, and a freeze on future property tax revaluations for seniors who have lived in their homes for more than 20 years.