Washington Insurance Commissioner Kriedler re-elected

Mike Kriedler, the incumbent Insurance Commissioner for the state of Washington, has won re-election.

Kriedler, a Democrat, won the race against Republication challenger Chirayu Avinash Patel with 67% of the vote.

The Insurance Commissioner has been controversial in the captive industry due to his campaign to get captives operating in Washington to pay state premium tax.

Washington is not a captive domicile, and since 2018 Kreidler has been pushing for captive structures to pay the tax.

Alaska Air and Starbucks, parents to captives ASA Insurance and Olympic Casualty, are currently in legal battles with the state over the premium tax issue. In January Kreidler called them “unauthorised insurers” and ordered them to stop insuring risk.

“Captive insurance is considered unauthorised insurance in Washington,” the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner states.

“Because state law lacks a clear way to regulate captives, they operate with no regulatory oversight and do not pay premium taxes like all other insurers do. The OIC estimates the state is missing millions of dollars in revenue by not taxing captive insurers.”

The state is currently surveying captives to get an understanding of how many operate in Washington.

In a statement, Kriedler said he was honoured to serve as insurance commissioner for another term.

“I am honoured to have another opportunity to serve again as your insurance commissioner,” he said. “I vow to remain vigilant in protecting consumers in Washington, especially in the area of health care.

“I will continue as a fair and balanced regulator—and consumer protection will always be my top priority.”

Other measures on the ballot in Washington included a vote on if to repeal a business tax hike. The tax was repealed, with 61% of the vote.

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