Agency 101: Office of the Commissioner of Insurance

Sep 21, 2022 | Administration

Office Workers

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State Agency Fast Facts: 

In 2021, there were 2,008 insurers authorized to write business in Wisconsin with total assets of more than $612 billion. Of those, 329 insurers were domiciled in Wisconsin.

The office supervises the insurance industry and is responsible for licensing insurance agents, examining the industry’s financial practices and market conduct, reviewing policy forms for compliance with state insurance statutes and regulations, investigating consumer complaints, and providing consumer information.

The office also administers three segregated insurance funds: the State Life Insurance Fund, the Local Government Property Insurance Fund, and the Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund. There are over 197,000 agents licensed to do business in Wisconsin – over 35,000 of those are Wisconsin residents. OCI’s 2021-23 budget is set at over $554 million and has a total of 133 employees.

Taxpayer Alert!

Did you know?

OCI is also home to Wisconsin’s Injured Patients and Families Compensation Fund (Fund). The Fund was created by legislative enactment in 1975 and its mission is to provide excess medical malpractice coverage to Wisconsin health care providers and to ensure that funds are available to compensate injured patients. The Fund provides coverage in excess of the primary limit established by statute, which is currently $1 million per occurrence and $3 million aggregate per year. Participation in the Fund is mandatory for health care providers as defined by statute. OCI provides administrative support for the Fund’s operations and is governed by a 13-member Board of Governors, chaired by the Commissioner of Insurance.

Reform History:

During Governor Walker’s administration, OCI developed the Wisconsin Healthcare Stability Plan (WIHSP). WIHSP is a state operated reinsurance program approved by the federal government through an Affordable Care Act Section 1332 Waiver. It allows Wisconsin to leverage federal funding to create a stable individual insurance market where individuals have a choice of health plans with affordable premiums.

OCI Leadership

Close Call…

In the last budget, Governor Evers proposed creating a new Office of Prescription Drug Affordability within OCI to administer new initiatives related to prescription drug supply chain regulation and consumer assistance. This new office would have grown government – requiring over $3.2 million and creating 16 new full time staff to administer.

Keep an Eye on:

Last year, the American Rescue Plan Act provided subsidies in the Affordable Care Act marketplaces, to make plans available in the exchange more affordable. These subsidies were set to expire at the end of 2022 but the recently enacted Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) extended the federal health insurance subsidies for another three years. After these subsidies are gone, Wisconsinites will likely have to shoulder the cost of increased premiums.

IRG Wants to Know:

If you were in charge for a day, what reforms would you make to the UW? Email Alex Ignatowski, IRG’s Director of State Budget and Government Reform, at AI@reforminggovernment.org.