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Picking Potential

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What does Mass. Gov. Deval L. Patrick's insurance commissioner pick presage for the future?
Gov. Deval L. Patrick’s selection of Superior Court Justice Nonnie Burnes as Massachusetts’ new insurance commissioner represents an interesting and admirable choice. Here is someone who spent the last 10 years basing her opinion on the all sides of arguments and driving down to the letter of the law. It’s still surprising, though, that a judge – a career path with significant autonomy – would want to take on a role known for being routinely criticized, second-guessed and somewhat unstable.
Though this appointment appears to provide the insurance industry with no leads as to Gov. Patrick’s agenda on property-casualty insurance, I would venture to guess that it means he actually doesn’t have one. Rumors among the industry indicated that there was no shortage of individuals with clear opinions on insurance reform interested in the job and the governor could easily have gone with someone invested in one particular side. However, a fresh slate on the issue is just what’s needed.

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