For Immediate Release: Tuesday, August 16
Minnesota Department of Commerce Reorganizes Divisions to Better Serve Minnesota Consumers, Businesses
(ST. PAUL, MN) To better serve Minnesota consumers and businesses, Commissioner Mike Rothman announced today that the Minnesota Department of Commerce will undergo a significant, strategic reorganization effective August 17, 2011. A revamped Consumer Protection and Education Division will help protect seniors, families and students from fraudulent practices. A new Division of Insurance will unify and strengthen insurance regulation, and the Market Assurance Division will be renamed the Enforcement Division, along with other department changes. The reorganization does not affect the department's Division of Energy Resources.
"With this reorganization, the Commerce Department will better serve Minnesota consumers and businesses," said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. "We have outstanding staff dedicated to taking care of Minnesota consumers and businesses. These structural changes will help focus their efforts and strengthen our department's good work," Rothman said.
The Consumer Protection and Education Division will be led by Senior Director of Consumer and Industry Services Robert Commodore. The Consumer Protection and Education Division's functions will focus on consumer protection and outreach, including the department's Consumer Response Team and Licensing units. These units will be moved from the department's Enforcement Division to the Administration Division.
Commodore will also lead the department's Unclaimed Property Division, which will have enhancements to its compliance functions to help ensure unclaimed property is properly reported to the state.
A new Division of Insurance will house the department's insurance units, unifying regulatory oversight of all insurance activities. Consolidated under this Division will be the insurance financial solvency and actuarial groups that were formerly located within the Financial Institutions Division, the Insurance Product Filing unit, and Life, Health, Workers Comp and Self-Insurance staff. Insurance-related enforcement matters, however, will remain under the authority of the department's Enforcement Division.
"Consolidating all of the department's insurance regulatory activity into one cohesive, collaborative division is crucial to the mission of our department," Commissioner Rothman said. "From settling a claim to filing a complaint to complying with the state's licensing requirements, this new Division of Insurance will provide a single accessible resource for consumers and businesses working to navigate complex insurance matters in our state."
The new Insurance Division will be led by the Assistant Commissioner of Insurance, who will report directly to Commissioner Mike Rothman. Jaki Gardner, the department's current Assistant Commissioner of Insurance, will serve in that role until October 14, 2011. Gardner, however, will leave on October 14 to become the new COO of Catholic Holy Family Society in Joliet, Illinois. The department will conduct a national search for Gardner's successor to have that person on board at that time.
"I am happy that Jaki will lead our new Insurance Division for the next few months - there is no one better-suited to help lead our department through this important transition" Rothman said. "We wish her well as she enters a new private sector opportunity after spending her entire career in state service, including more than 14 years here at the Commerce Department."
In addition to the restructuring changes, the department's Market Assurance Division will become the Enforcement Division, taking on a name that better reflects the work Commerce staff does each day. The Enforcement Division will consist of the Enforcement Unit, Insurance Fraud unit and Securities unit.