Five months after Nonnie Burnes stepped down to take an academic position, Joseph G. Murphy was named Massachusetts’ next insurance commissioner.
Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick appointed Murphy, who has served as a first deputy commissioner with the state’s division of insurance since 2006, as Burnes’ successor. Murphy has served as acting commissioner since Burnes stepped down last September to become a senior fellow at Northeastern University, where she received her law degree.
Patrick’s office praised Murphy’s role in the implementation of the administration’s auto insurance reform, adopting a competitive rating system, and the day-to-day operation of the division, its 130 employees and $12 million budget over the last few months.
“Joe deserves a significant amount of credit for the success of managed competition and is a leader in our efforts to stabilize health insurance costs for small businesses,” Patrick said in a statement. “He has a keen understanding of the issues that matter to consumers and insurers alike, and will use his knowledge and experience to help us move forward on auto insurance reform, health care cost containment and a host of other initiatives.”
Since auto reform in Massachusetts two years ago, managed competition in the market has attracted 11 new companies and saved money for good drivers in the Commonwealth, according to the governor’s office.
In the five months he has served as acting commissioner, Murphy spearheaded an effort to investigate high percentage increases in small group health insurance, and provided oversight on hearings with insurers and care providers to investigate the prospect of creating group purchasing cooperatives in Massachusetts.
Murphy said he is “honored” to be chosen as Burnes’ successor and “will continue to protect the interests of consumers on very important kitchen-table issues while regulating a vibrant marketplace for the industry.”
Prior to joining the Massachusetts Division of Insurance, Murphy was chief of staff and research director of the Joint Committee on Financial Services and the Joint Committee on Insurance in the Massachusetts Legislature. In that role, Murphy worked on Massachusetts health care reform now seen as a national model.
He is active with the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and currently serves on the Property and Casualty and the Financial Regulation Standards and Accreditation Committees. He also serves as a member of the management committee of the Interstate Insurance Product Regulation Commission.