Name as it appears on the ballot: Mike Causey

Campaign website:

Phone number: 336-210-1947

Years lived in state: Lifelong resident

In your view, what are the three most pressing issues facing the state’s next insurance commissioner? If elected, how would you address them? The staggering increase in health insurance premiums and homeowners insurance policies on families and businesses; The influence of big money from insurance company executives and corporate attorneys over the current insurance commissioner; And the continuing reduction of state employees that provide necessary and critical services to the people of North Carolina.

I will work to change our system of insurance and the department to make it more responsive and accountable to the people who pay insurance premiums.

I will work to attract more volunteers and small campaign contributors and give working people a bigger voice concerning insurance matters.

I will work with our legislators and the governor to reduce the layoffs and cuts in necessary state personnel.

What in your record as a public official or other experience demonstrates your ability to be effective as insurance commissioner? (This might include career or community service; be specific about its relevance to this office.)

As a legislative lobbyist representing consumer rights and small business owners in the field of auto glass and auto body repair, I successfully guided the passage of House Bill 13, the Consumer Motor Vehicle Repair Act. HB13 was signed into law and clearly gives consumers the Right to Choose their collision repair shop when involved in a motor vehicle accident. Too many insurers still try to force claimants to a “Preferred Auto Body Shop” and this law is NOT being enforced as it should by the current commissioner.

Currently I serve on the Guilford County Agricultural Review Board, Guilford County Environmental Review Board and the Public Officers and Employee Liability Insurance Commission under NCDOI, representing the Speaker of the House. In addition, I serve on the state board of Keep North Carolina Beautiful, Inc., heavily involved in beautification efforts in North Carolina.

How do you define yourself politically, and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I am an independently minded person who believes in efficient and effective government dedicated to service to the public. Individual Liberty and personal responsibility shape my thinking, along with doing what is right for the people. My platform does not include being in the hands of the powerful insurance companies as seems to be the case now.

In 2013, the legislature barred the state from expanding Medicaid or setting up its own insurance exchange in accordance with the Affordable Care Act. As a result of the failure to expand Medicaid, 450,000 North Carolinians are stuck in what’s known as the “coverage gap”—they make too much for Medicaid eligibility but not enough to receive tax credits. How would you use your role as insurance commissioner to help North Carolinians in the coverage gap?

I will work with the legislature to find a solution to this serious problem. Too many North Carolinians are stuck in this coverage gap. The current commissioner has offered no solutions.

Last year, North Carolina passed Medicaid reform. Advocates say this law will save money; opponents say that it serves only to benefit insurance companies. What is your position on this legislation, and as insurance commissioner, how would you use your role to enforce it?

The cost of Medicaid has been a severe financial drain on North Carolina’s financial resources. In my opinion, there is too much abuse in the Medicaid system, which makes it harder for those who need coverage and those who play by the rules. I will work with the legislators to continue to improve Medicaid and make it more efficient and effective for those it is intended to serve.

Homeowners’ insurance rates have risen over the past couple of years, prompting a proposal to give the insurance commissioner more authority over rates and requiring more transparency from insurance companies. How, as commissioner, how would you work to keep rates low for North Carolina homeowners? What is the insurance commissioner’s role in holding insurance companies accountable for misleading or wronging consumers?

Homeowners insurance is a nightmare in many parts of North Carolina. The skyrocketing premium increases are killing family budgets, small business and our local economies. I will work to change our outdated system of regulation which is hurting consumers now. We are the only state, out of the 50 states that has a Rate Bureau to dictate policies and rates. I will work with legislators to change this system and allow more free market choices for consumers and insurance companies.

I will fight to keep insurance rates down by working with all groups for a market solution.

There is no excuse for insurance companies misleading or wronging consumers. I will hold them accountable and take swift and appropriate action against those companies engaging in such behavior.

North Carolina’s auto-insurance rates are the cheapest in the country, largely due to the insurance commissioner’s ability to cap these rates. Last year, insurance companies tried and failed to persuade the legislature to revoke this authority via the so-called “Good Driver Discount Bill.” Would you support something a measure that takes away the insurance commissioner’s ability to cap auto insurance rates? Why or why not?

This is a false statement! North Carolina’s insurance rates are not the cheapest in the country. Maine, Idaho and several other states have cheaper insurance rates than NC. Also I challenge how our rates are compared to other states. We have “The Facility” for higher rate drivers and the Facility rates, to my knowledge, aren’t calculated in our average rates. I’ve met numerous people who moved here from other states and had their auto insurance rates go up!

No, I would reserve the right to cap rates.

Identify and explain one principled stand you would be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

I will stand with the people to help lower insurance rates. I ask voters to go to my campaign website or contact me with specific questions: