NC Deep Dive

Democratic Ballot: NC Commissioner of Insurance -- Natasha Marcus & David Wheeler

February 25, 2024 Amanda Lunn
NC Deep Dive
Democratic Ballot: NC Commissioner of Insurance -- Natasha Marcus & David Wheeler
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Get ready to uncover the strategies and stakes in the 2024 Democratic primary for NC Commissioner of Insurance. We're peeling back the political curtain to reveal the inner workings of Natasha Marcus's bid, a state senator with a sharp focus on consumer protection and fair insurance rates. Her charge against the current commissioner's industry-friendly policies sets the stage for an electoral showdown. We dissect Senator Marcus's arsenal of endorsements, her grassroots fundraising prowess, and the policy chops that have fueled her ascent in the Democratic ranks. Not to be overshadowed, we also profile David Wheeler and his extensive, visionary plan. The endorsements and community support backing his candidacy, especially as he is the only candidate for Council of State who lives west of Charlotte, underscore his readiness to reimagine the Department of Insurance.

This session is a goldmine of information for those tracking the pulse of North Carolina politics. Join us for an episode that not only scrutinizes the candidates' platforms but also connects their visions directly to the North Carolinian lives they aim to serve.

Natasha Marcus & David Wheeler

NC Deep Dive’s Voters’ Guide for the 2024 Primary Election

Ballotpedia

WRAL’s Voters’ Guide

Raleigh News & Observer Voters’ Guide

INDY Week’s Candidate Questionnaire

Campaign Finance Reports for All Candidate Committees

Voter Information
--Register to Vote
--Voter Info (Designated Polling Places, Sample Ballots, Registration Status, Voting Jurisdiction, Verify Address and Party Affiliation)
--Election Information
 --Election Day Voting FAQs
--Absentee by Mail FAQs

Closest Early Voting Locations
February 15th-March 2nd

W.E. Hunt Recreation Center in Holly Springs

Hilltop Needmore Town Park & Preserve

2024 Primary Election Early Voting Bus Route Guide

 ELECTION DAY
Tuesday, March 5th from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM

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Now, let's dive in!

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Hello friends, thanks for joining me and the NC Deep Dive. I am your host, Amanda Benbow-Lunn, and we are delving into the 2024 primary election. Each episode will cover a different race that will be on your primary ballot this election. When you go to vote, you will be handed a ballot based on your address and party affiliation. If you are unaffiliated sometimes also referred here as independent then you will have your choice of which party's ballot you would like to vote. Please note that you are only able to cast one ballot and that there are no primary ballots for the Green Party or the no Labels Party. Moreover, candidates for the general election in November who do not have a primary challenger will not appear on your primary ballot. They get a pass directly to the general election. Due to time constraints and the plethora of candidates, and my belief that having as much information as possible is of vast importance, our primary election segment will consist of me covering one race at a time, as time allows, and going over each candidate's website and what I can find on a simple Google search, in case it is easier for you to take in information this way. If you are short on time, you can check out our NC Deep Dives Voters Guide for the 2024 primary election, found pinned to our Facebook page or on this episode's show notes at www. ncdeepdive. com. It will be an easy way to access each candidate's website and research the candidates on your own. If that's a better use of your time, without further ado, my friends, let's dive in.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Now we're going to dive into the North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance that will be on the Democratic ballot. This race has two candidates, one of which is Natasha Marcus, the other is David Wheeler. You are eligible to vote for one of these candidates. We're going to start with Natasha Marcus. Her website is natashamarcus. com. It says thank you for visiting. Please click sign up to get email updates from the campaign. Natasha Marcus, NC Commissioner of Insurance. You can sign up today for the latest news. Natasha Marcus for NC Insurance Commissioner.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

During my time in the North Carolina Senate, I've been an outspoken champion for people over corporations, for individual freedoms over ideology and for smart investments in our state's future. My campaigns are funded by grassroots donors and supporters like you, and I'm scandal-free. My mission has always been to stand up against corruption, corporate greed and bad government, and now I'm running to be North Carolina's next Commissioner of Insurance. Commissioner of Insurance is a council of state position that allows me to look out for everyone in North Carolina who needs insurance, to ensure rates are fair, coverage is as advertised and valid claims are paid. The Insurance Commissioner has authority over all insurance companies doing business in our state the Consumer Protection Fund, the Safe Kids Program and the Seniors Health Insurance Information Program. The Department of Insurance oversees fire safety and building inspections and is also a main source of information about insurance policies and claims, including workers' compensation. In other words, the Insurance Commissioner's work touches almost every North Carolinian young and old, workers, motorists, patients, homeowners, firefighters and business owners and should be held by someone who is on the side of the people. I bring to the job my more than five years of experience as an elected representative in the North Carolina General Assembly, including my service on the Senate Commerce and Insurance Committee, my work as a litigation attorney and my knowledge of the laws of the state. As a graduate of Duke University School of Law, I understand the impact of climate change on the frequency of weather-related losses and on insurance rates, and I support efforts to mitigate those risks. Most importantly, I care about North Carolinians like you, who need affordable, reliable insurance coverage for their homes, vehicles, businesses and healthcare.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

The Republican incumbent quote Rate Hike, mike unquote. Causey is an insurance industry insider who forgets that he was elected by the people to be their voice. During his eight years in office, he has approved an unprecedented number of rate hikes and refuses to hold public hearings. Instead of a transparent process where insurance companies are required to provide proof under oath, subject to cross-examination, to justify higher rates, causey skips the public hearings and makes private settlements. That allows rates to increase again and again. He says we should just trust that he's getting us a fair deal. Complete lack of transparency. In January of 2024, insurers requested an outrageous jump in homeowners' rates 42% average statewide and 99% on the coast, which is more than many people can afford. Yet when folks traveled from all over the state to speak at the public comment forum in Raleigh, causey did not even show up to listen. I was there and I heard folks loud and clear. We need a new commissioner of insurance who will do the job right, advocating for the people's best interest and forcing insurance companies to justify their rates at public hearings. I'll be that new leader and I ask for your support this year. There's a button where you can donate if you feel so moved and she asks please donate to our grassroots campaign. It is expensive to run a statewide campaign challenging an incumbent member of the Council of State. We need resources to flip this seat. Thank you for your help. Press release on massive rate increase request. Senator Natasha Marcus issues a statement on homeowners insurance rate hike request. Calls on current commissioner of insurance to fight for consumers. Davidson North Carolina.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Over the weekend, alarming news broke for homeowners in North Carolina. The North Carolina rate bureau announced that it is once again seeking a huge increase in homeowners insurance rates, this time as much as 99% higher for some. Unfortunately for North Carolina's homeowners, the person elected to represent them in these situations, the current NC insurance commissioner, has shown time and time again that he's not on their side. State Senator Natasha Marcus offered the following statement. Quote insurance industry insider Mike Causey has allowed insurance rates to increase an unprecedented number of times during his eight years in office and all indications are that he'll do it again now.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Commissioner Causey keeps failing to stand up for the people who elected him by shirking his responsibilities to one, reject outrageous rate hikes and. Two, call for and actually hold public hearings that force insurance companies to justify their request under oath. And three preside over those hearings, as the NC statutes provide. These failures earned him the nickname rate hike Mike during his first term in office, when he forgot his campaign promises to fight rate hikes. Unquote quote. Using his past behavior as an indicator, I predict commissioner causey will call for, but not actually hold, a public hearing and that he will instead end up agreeing to a private settlement on the latest rate hike request. In other words, our current state, commissioner, will allow rates to go up more than necessary without a public, transparent presentation and cross examination of the evidence the insurance companies have to justify their rate increase request within each territorial zone. We should not let that happen again. End quote.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Natasha Marcus is calling on insurance commissioner causey to do his job and fight for the consumers of North Carolina by doing the following One reject the successive rate increase request from the start to schedule and hold a full public hearing on the request to start by July 1 and to end by August 1, 2024, including no games by him to avoid and delay his secret rate hikes until after election day. And three preside over the public hearing himself, as contemplated by the statutory job description. Senator Marcus continued. Quote Commissioner causey's predecessors held public hearings and presided over them. Why won't he? Why does he make private settlements to raise rates over and over again? We need an insurance commissioner who works for the consumers and fights excessive rates with actual public hearings. We need an insurance commissioner who is able to preside over the public hearings and does not rely upon his political appointees to do his job. End quote. Quote in 2024, we need to retire rate hike, mike. The people of North Carolina deserve a commissioner who will fight for them when it comes to matters of insurance. End quote. That's the end of the press release.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Natasha Marcus speaks with the independent insurance agents. There is a 2024 insurance commissioner election interview. That's on her website. There's another Natasha on the Carolina Democracy podcast. You can listen to the badge of honor episode where Natasha talks about why she's running for commissioner of insurance. It's another video where Senator Marcus speaks against the abortion ban. That was posted in May of 2023.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Natasha at work and in the community. There are a number of pictures and it says let's stay in touch. Sign up to get email updates from the campaign and you can follow her on social media. She lists a Facebook, instagram, linkedin, tiktok X and YouTube account that you can access through her website. Do have the ability to donate to her cause, if you would like.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

About me who I am? I am a three term state senator elected to represent District 41 in Mecklenburg County. I am a mom of two adult daughters, a nature enthusiast, an animal lover and foster parent with a local animal rescue group and a former litigation attorney. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy from Hamilton College and a JD from Duke University School of Law. Before becoming a member of the NC Senate, I worked at the Ada Jenkins Center, a local nonprofit that enables people to become financially secure. Why I chose public service? As a litigation attorney, I learned how to advocate for my clients to ensure their fair treatment under the law.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

During my time in the Senate, I've been an outspoken advocate for North Carolinians, who deserve affordable health care, common sense, gun safety, reform, reproductive freedom, clean energy, fair elections, public education, investments, equity and tax policies that are fair for working families. My mission has always been to stand up against corruption, corporate greed and bad government. I look forward to continuing that work as NC's Commissioner of Insurance. We need a commissioner who will be on the side of the people, not corporations. My core values. My life exemplifies my commitment to hard work, the value of a quality education and being a voice of reason and respect. I believe in the importance of taking personal responsibility, investing in the future and cultivating an inclusive community. In a time of political discord, I offer solutions that bring people together and make positive change for the people of our state.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Senator Natasha Marcus is a three-term state senator from Mecklenburg County. Senator Marcus has a BA in public policy from Hamilton College and a law degree from Duke University. She's been on the front lines of community work for decades, including moral Monday protests, gun violence prevention, habitat for humanity bills, marches in support of women's rights and Black Lives Matter, volunteering at the local free health clinic, leading volunteers on the Obama and Clinton campaigns, co-founding the Democrats of North Mecklenburg Group and organizing voter registration drives. She also mentors young women who are interested in seeking elected office. Natasha is a mother of two daughters. Her younger child is an elementary school teacher and her oldest daughter recently earned her PhD and is married to a naval officer. Natasha is the daughter of a public school teacher and a lawyer who also served in elected office. After passing the bar exam in 1994, natasha practiced law at the Brooks Pierce Law Firm and clerked for a federal judge in Greensboro, she moved to Davidson in 2007. Immediately prior to taking office, she worked at the Aida Jenkins Center, a local community center that provides services and support for those most in need.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Senator Marcus serves on several committees, including commerce and insurance, judiciary, redistricting and elections and education. She is a leader in her Democratic caucus and a strong advocate for affordable health insurance, public schools, reproductive freedom, clean energy, common sense, gun safety reform, fair elections, better wages for working people and environmental policies to combat climate change. As a first term, senator Natasha was elected by her peers to be freshman leader. In her second term, she was elected chair of the 17-member Mecklenburg County delegation to the North Carolina General Assembly. Now, in her third term, she serves as deputy leader for legal matters for the Senate Democratic Caucus.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

2024 endorsements and commissioner of insurance race. It looks like she's had four rounds of endorsements by elected officials. She is proudly endorsed by US Representative Jeff Jackson, senate Minority Leader Senator Dan Blue, senators Gail Adcock, vell Applewhite, michael Garrett, lisa Grastin, paul Lowe, rachel Hunt, julie Mayfield, natalie Murdock, gladys Robinson, joyce Waddell, mike Woodard, wesley Harris and former Senators Sam Searcy and Terry Van Doen. She is also proudly endorsed by 22 colleagues in the North Carolina General Assembly, some of which may be familiar to you in this area Senator Sydney Batch, senator Mary Willis Bode, greg Maiyer, representative Deb Butler, representative Ashton Clemens, the Representative Sarah Crawford, representative Julie von Haefon and former Representative, current Mayor Christie Clark. She is proudly endorsed by all seven of North Carolina's Democratic members of Congress, including Congresswoman Alma Adams, congressman Don Davis, congresswoman Valerie Fushi, congressman Jeff Jackson, congresswoman Kathy Manning, congressman Wiley Nickel and Congresswoman Deborah Ross, and she is proudly endorsed by 10 more colleagues in the North Carolina General Assembly, for a total of 53 current and former fellow legislators. This last round includes Senator Jay Chahoudri, the Democratic Whip, representative Cynthia Ball, representative Maria Cervania, representative Allison Dale, representative Terrence Everitt, representative Ya Liu, amongst others.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

She has been endorsed by the Sierra Club Lilian's List, the People's Alliance, which supports progressive candidates who embody excellence and readiness to serve the people of Durham and North Carolina and the nation. She's endorsed by the Black Political Caucus of Charlotte Mecklenburg, which educates about the importance of voting, promotes a Black community in political, economical, educational, civic and cultural affairs and works for improvement of the community in matters of education, economics, religion, social and civic welfare and political activity. The Raleigh Wake Citizens Association. For 90 years this nonpartisan group has been an influential factor in supporting positive and progressive policy in Wake County, advocating for citizens to protect, encourage, educate and support their civic, economic, social, educational and political advancement. The Wake County Voter Education Coalition, which increases voter participation and expands citizen involvement through citizen education and grassroots community organizations for African American and other concerned citizens. The young Democrats of North Carolina they have endorsed her and believe in the American values of freedom, fairness, equality and social justice. They believe that the Democratic Party at its best embodies these values and that the young Democrats of North Carolina exist to advance these principles and give the youth of North Carolina a vehicle for progressive change.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

She's endorsed by Replacements Limited PAC, which endorses candidates who will best support and promote progressive policies and civil rights, whose past and current positions support LGBTQ plus rights, immigrant justice, gun violence prevention, health, environmental justice, good government campaign finance reform and education, and who are strategically viable. She's endorsed by Planned Parenthood Votes South Atlantic, which is a nonpartisan political action committee committed to supporting pro-reproductive health candidates for elected office in North Carolina. Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education and information to millions of people worldwide. She's endorsed by NC State AFL-CIO, the largest association of unions working, the largest associations of unions of working people in North Carolina, representing 145,000 members working together for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers' rights, consumer protections and quality public services on behalf of all working people. She's endorsed by the Durham Committee on the Affairs of Black People PAC, which fights for the empowerment and equality of the black community, champion social justice and racial equity, and promotes the welfare of black people in civic, cultural, economic, educational, health, housing, political, youth and religious and human affairs. She's endorsed by the George C Simkins Memorial PAC, which is named after the civil rights leader of Greensboro. The Simkins Memorial PAC fights for equality, liberty, democracy and justice and endorses candidates who do the same. She says endorsements are great, but we need donations to fund our grassroots campaign. Can you help? It's expensive to run a statewide campaign challenging an incumbent member of the Council of State. We need resources to flip this seat.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And then she lists her 2022 endorsements in her NC Senate race, which I am not going to read, but you're welcome to look into, and that is pretty much the totality of her website. Doing a Google search, I did not find anything out of the ordinary on the first page. According to her ballopedia, they do have her campaign finance information for the 2024 election, which runs January 1st 2023 through December 31st 2024. She has received $121,031 in contributions. She has a total of 655 unique contributors. She has spent $35,268 in expenditures and has 78 unique payees. She did answer the 2024 candidate connection survey on ballotpedia. There are about five or six questions there. You're welcome to look up if you are so interested. Natasha did fill out our questionnaire for the 2024 North Carolina Deep Dive Voters Guide. The link for that will be in the show notes.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

And that brings us to David Wheeler. His website is wheelernccom and it says David Wheeler for insurance. Commissioner Ara L Comisionado de Segueros. You can order yard signs and t-shirts and join David's team by clicking a button. Learn more about rate hike mic endorsements. His website says David is proud of these endorsements. Wheeler endorsement alert.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Patsy Kever, representative North Carolina House. Chair of the state dem party, buncombe County. Commissioner educator. David is a solid candidate with diverse life experiences to motivate his desire to help all North Carolinians, it is important for our council of state to have members from across the state. David is the only candidate for council of state who lives west of Charlotte. We need his voice at the table.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

He is endorsed by Colonel Mo Davis, who is North Carolina 11 congressional democratic nominee in 2020. He was in the United States Air Force, a Legion of Merit awardee, head of the foreign affairs, defense and trade division, congressional Research Service and the US Department of Labor Administrative Law Judge Colonel Davis states because of David Wheeler's hard work and tenacity, perpetual embarrassment. Madison Cawthorn was booted out of office after one term in Congress and Lauren Boebert's race in a solid red Colorado district ended up being the closest congressional race in the entire country. North Carolinians deserve a resolute and relentless insurance commissioner who will go toe-to-toe with the big insurance companies to make sure Tar Heels from Murphy to Manteo are treated fairly. That's why I'm voting for David Wheeler.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

He was endorsed by Commissioner Ray Gasperson. He was a Polk County Commissioner from 2008 to 2020, owner of a farm in Green Creek Community, former trustee of Isothermal Community College, member of Polk County Agricultural's Advisory Board, former chair of Polk County's Planning Board, member of the YMCA Development Board. He says David Wheeler grew up in a rural community and maintains those values today. He cares deeply about helping rural schools, small business, people of color, farmers, teachers, ranchers and producers. David is also tough as nails. He gets things done without a lot of nonsense. He will fight for lower insurance rates as hard as Wayne Goodwin and Jim Long did, and that fight will be for you, not himself. Let's select a Democrat again to the Commissioner of Insurance office. My family and I will be voting for David Wheeler in the March 5th 2024 Democratic primary. I hope you will too. He is endorsed by Beth Wood, cpa and former NC auditor. She says David Wheeler has a robust plan to refocus the Department of Insurance on helping the people of North Carolina. David is the right man for Commissioner of Insurance. He's an experienced businessman and has spent the last year listening to voters across NC. I'm voting for David Wheeler in the March 5th 2024 primary. Representative Eric Ager from Hickory Nut Gap has endorsed him and he says David Wheeler is a fighter for the people. He'll hold insurance companies accountable every day of the week. David is the only candidate in either party from Western North Carolina running statewide. We need someone from Western North Carolina on the Council of State in Raleigh. I'm voting for David Wheeler in the March 5th 2024 primary. It says firefighters and their families in the Charlotte local 660 proudly support David Wheeler for Commissioner of Insurance in the March 5th 2024 primary.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

In the about section. There are some videos On his website. There are some videos he has here that you can check out. There is a political cartoon. In the rearview mirror there's a picture of David Wheeler driving with a hat. That says David Wheeler and what's assuming? Mike Causey in the backseat saying hey, wait a minute, that's not my usual driver. Next to this cartoon it says Bail Bondsman help David Wheeler drive. Rate. Hike Mike out of office. There's another video saying that Wheeler can beat Republican rate hike Mike. The insurance companies want a 42% homeowners insurance rate hike in 2024. My response to the insurance companies hell, no, I'm working for the people. And a fire rate hike Mike. David Wheeler. We are voting for David Wheeler for Commissioner of Insurance. There are only 15 days left until the primary election. Early voting ends on March 2nd. There's another video of him and then it says meet David. David B Wheeler is running to be the next North Carolina insurance commissioner and the only Democratic candidate living west of Charlotte running for the council of state.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

David is a single father of three kids of color, son, small business owner and independent Democrat that loves North Carolina and the United States of America. Growing up in a small town, david was raised by his marine father named Gail and CWA Union mother Donna, with his three brothers and sister. David first became politically involved when he was 10 on a local campaign with his parents and has been hooked on politics and public service since. In addition, david was elected majority leader of the high school statewide model legislature, was selected as a state House of Representatives page, served as a United States Senate intern, restarted the dormant state Young Democrats and was elected to the Young Democrats National Committee. David also worked in the secretary of state's office.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

David has started and led various companies over the last 30 years. His first business venture at the age of 24 was Protocol International Incorporated, an event management firm. Protocol specialized in managing high profile events for corporate and government clients. During Wheeler's tenure as president, he was responsible for the firm's involvement in more than 1000 projects in 35 countries with 50 Fortune 500 clients, including more than a dozen head of state visits to the United States. Protocol expanded with offices in Los Angeles, new York, paris, london and partnered with Pico in Hong Kong. Since his first business, david has gone on to work on a number of unique projects, including managing the first marathon in Antarctica, producing the first presidential candidate forum focused on cancer issues, lowering the level of the Mississippi River for an event in Burlington, iowa, and producing the first professional sports event in Russia. David was also a senior vice president of the largest publicly traded meeting and event management firm, ambassadors LLC, and helped grow the company and manage significant clients. David also founded a successful second event management firm, embark LLC, which focused on communication events, government relations forums, complex marketing, event management, corporate conferences and travel programs. Embark was a partner with a Clarion events limited of London. David was also co-founder and president of conference IQ LLC. C IQ is the world's largest directory of business events and professional speakers.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

David helped launch global higher educational group LLC, based in Spruce Pine, north Carolina, with partners in Canada, united Kingdom and Australia. David is leading this as a chief executive officer and is a founding shareholder. Ghd is focused on providing international students with scholarships and global university choices through a matchmaking platform. David is actively involved in the Mitchell County community. He has served on the board of directors for Spruce Pine Montessori and is currently chairman of Health E schools. He has previously run for office to bring adequate representation to his local community. David graduated from the University of Iowa with a major in political science and an emphasis in economics. David's ex-wife, jeanine Marchand, is an accomplished artist. David and Jeanine co-parent their children, calia 12, nicholas, 10, and Quinn, 7, in Spruce Pine. There's buttons where you can support David by donating or getting involved, and you can follow David on the campaign trail via Facebook, twitter or X and Instagram.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

The Wheeler plan no rate increases. More than one million new residents have moved to North Carolina since 2010, which creates a larger market and should create lower prices, but our insurance policy rates keep climbing every year. These increases are across the board and affect homeowners, renters, auto small and large business, startup businesses and organizations, professional liability, life, property and other insurance rates. Why, no one in Raleigh is fighting to keep the rates down and the current commissioner is dependent upon insurance industry campaign cash. David is going to change that. In his first day in office, when David is elected as commissioner of the Department of Insurance, he will fight against any insurance rate increases during his four-year term. David will be the fighter North Carolinians need. He's done it before. He'll do it again.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Insurance claims resolution. Within 60 days, when David is elected, the entire Department of Insurance will be reorganized towards helping North Carolinians, small business owners, farmers, seniors, members of the military and public servants, ensure their rates are low and they get what they paid for when they need their insurance company to step up. This means that insurance companies will have 60 days to pay claims or be subject to a penalty. That is paid to you, not the Department of Insurance. The insurance companies don't allow you to make late payments. Why should we let them make late claim payments to their customers and you Help consumers get medical debt forgiven or reduced?

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

North Carolina is home to three of the top four counties in the US with medical debt. I will work with the debt collection agencies to put together a model repayment plan that has adopted industry-wide. That includes a low interest rate payment plans and cancelling debt when possible. In addition, I'll work with the legislature to get legislation on the books that protects consumers from predatory practices, high interest rates and wrecking credit reports. The bottom line is that someone should not be in debt for their life because they got sick or injured. I'll work to change practices in North Carolina to protect consumers. Fight every rate increase. More than one million new residents have moved to North Carolina since 2010. My leadership team will reflect the diversity of North Carolina with pay equity. When I'm elected commissioner, I've committed to ensuring the Department of Insurance leadership team and employees reflect this great diverse state. In September of 2023, in a video to the North Carolina Democratic Women Convention, I committed to appointing women and people of color to my leadership team at a level that represents diverse culture of North Carolina.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Treat all bail bonds industry professionals with respect, fairness and transparency. Under rate hike, mike, the bail bonds industry is suffering from a complete lack of fairness and transparency. I will work with the bail bond industry to bring fairness back to the BBRD. At DOI, the Department of Insurance, I'll clean house of the current management, investigate past misdeeds and set down a clear and concise ethical standard of operation for all Department of Insurance staff. Bail bondsmen and women are small businesses and have been a part of the legal justice system for more than 365 years. Many are owned by people of color. They need to be treated with respect and encouraged to grow their businesses, not treated as solely sources of revenue or discriminated against. A bad bail bondsman women will be weeded out and punished according to the law, not whether or not they supported my campaign. Fairness is the name of the game.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Under my administration and team Convene a task force to explore gun liability insurance, I will lead a pioneering initiative to form a statewide task force dedicated to exploring the concept of gun liability insurance, recognizing the growing concerns over gun violence and safety, my proposal aims to convene a diverse group of stakeholders, including legal experts, insurance professionals, law enforcement community and citizens group and public health officials. The primary objective of this task force is to meticulously evaluate the feasibility of requiring gun liability insurance for gun owners in North Carolina. By doing so, I believe that this could incentivize responsible gun ownership and potentially reduce the frequency and severity of gun related incidents. The task force will also delve into the practicalities of implementing such insurance, examining its legal implications impacting gun owners and potential benefits to public safety.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Appoint a chief ethics and diversity officer. Based on the data I've compiled in personal conversations with current and former Department of Insurance employees, there is a racial discrimination problem at DOI. One of my first acts as commissioner will be to appoint a chief ethics and fairness officer. The focus of this senior official will be to review all past and current hiring practices, create a hotline for ethical and legal violations, treat unethical and illegal activity, refer violations to the proper law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies and compile all of this information into a format that is released to the public on a regular basis. In addition, this senior official will review the patterns and practices of the DOI fraud enforcement teams, investigations, arrests and convictions. If someone has been discriminated against by the Department of Insurance for any reason, we will investigate, render an opinion, hold violators accountable and provide an apology and recompense when appropriate. We will also refer all illegal activity to the proper authorities.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Use existing laws to enforce mental health parity. Since 2008, federal law has required insurance companies to provide mental health coverage on par with coverage for other health services. While other states have cracked down on illegal claims, denials and other roadblocks, mike Causie's Department of Insurance has zero published enforcement actions. In 2019, the Kennedy Forum gave Ratehike Mike and F grade for mental health parity in North Carolina. When our friends, neighbors or family members need mental health care, I will fight for them to get the care they need and will enforce the law against insurance companies if needed. There is a video there that you can watch.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

He will prioritize public servants. David understands that public servants are the backbone of our communities. He is committed to getting discounts on home and auto insurance for our public servants, including firefighters, law enforcement, nurses, teachers, emts, union members, state workers and others. He will stop the exploitation of NC seniors. David is committed to stopping the overcharging of seniors on their medical bills, helping resolve claims quickly and fairly, providing Medicare supplemental insurance for all North Carolina seniors and working to expand Medicare for all. David believes that the time to act is now and that we can create a better future for our seniors.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Great ombudsman for providers and caregivers, the caregivers providing services to North Carolinians should have an advocate for them at the Department of Insurance. I will add a dedicated staff person to work with providers and caregivers when they have disputes with insurance companies. It's time we took care of those taking care of us and I'm committed to making this change. Insurance company ratings when my new team takes the helm January 1st 2025, we will begin work on a public website that has ratings for auto, home renters and other insurance lines. The website will include a rating based on price, customer complaints, payment of claims and other factors. This will give consumers a clear and concise website to shop for insurance and hold bad insurance companies to account.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

He will procure a second set of turnout gear for firefighters. When I take office in January 2025, I will immediately begin the process of procuring a second set of turnout gear for any North Carolina fire department and or rescue squad that requests it. The second set of gear will help lower the rate of cancer than an unclean set of gear. Subjects firefighters. The gear costs approximately $2,500 per firefighter and many departments cannot afford this extra cost. $5,000 annual tax credit for firefighters Volunteer and paid firefighters provide an invaluable service to our state. I am proposing, and will push with the NC General Assembly, a $5,000 tax credit for every firefighter that is either full time or has at least 10 hours of service as a volunteer each month. The $5,000 will allow us to honor the commitment these public servants make in a partial reimbursement for their gas and other out-of-pocket expenses.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

He will streamline building permitting in North Carolina to increase availability of affordable housing. It is time the Commissioner of Insurance addressed the Housing Crisis in North Carolina. I am advocating for a comprehensive policy aimed at streamlining the building permitting process and holding local officials accountable that are dragging their feet for political or other purposes. This initiative focuses on reducing bureaucratic hurdles, enhancing efficiency and fostering collaboration between relevant stakeholders to accelerate the construction of affordable housing across the state. He lists key components as number one review and simplify permitting procedures. Conduct a thorough review of existing building permitting procedures at the state and local levels. Identify redundant regulations and streamline the process to eliminate unnecessary delays. Establish clear guidelines. Develop clear and transparent guidelines for builders and developers to navigate the permitting process efficiently. Ensure that the guidelines prioritize safety standards while minimizing bureaucratic complexities. Three collaboration with local authorities. Foster collaboration with local municipalities to create a unified permitting framework. Establish a task force to work closely with the city and county officials, builders and community stakeholders to address regional housing needs.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Wheeler's Building Plan continued for Utilize Technology Invest in technology solutions to digitize and automate the permitting process. Implement an online portal for permit applications, tracking and approvals to reduce paperwork and processing times. Buy fast-track affordable housing projects. Implement a fast-track process specifically designed for affordable housing projects. Provide incentives or expedited approvals for projects that contribute to addressing the affordable housing shortage. Six community engagement and education. Engage with communities to address concerns and gather input on housing needs. Educate the public on the importance of expediting the building permitting process for affordable housing and its positive impact on communities. Seven monitoring and evaluation. Establish a system for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the streamlined permitting process. Make data-driven adjustments as needed to ensure continuous improvement and effectiveness. Eight incentivize innovation. Introduce incentives for innovative construction methods, materials and designs that meet safety standards, while expediting the construction process.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

He states climate change is real in driving up your insurance rates. Appoint a senior deputy commissioner for climate change issues. Appoint leaders in climate change issues to lead all of the Department of Insurance efforts on climate change and lead the task force outline below. Create a statewide climate change task force. Appoint a working group of committed stakeholders to devise a plan to combat climate change in North Carolina. Implement changes to lower our output of carbon emissions and ensure we know what's coming in the insurance market and the impact climate change is going to have upon NC consumers, schools, governments and businesses.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Climate Change Data Center Provide a data center for all things related to climate change and insurance, including real-time maps where climate change will have its biggest insurance risks and increases in policy premiums. In addition, include a list of insurance companies that include climate change data and their rates and acknowledge the risks in insurance policies. Climate risk assessment and disclosure require insurance companies to conduct thorough climate risk assessments to disclose their exposure to climate-related risks. This transparency will help both regulators and the public understand the potential impact of the industry. Climate Resilience Standards Establish and enforce standards for climate resilience in life insurance operations. This could include guidelines on underwriting practices, risk modeling and investments to ensure that the industry is adequately prepared for the impacts of climate change.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Incentives for green insurance products. Encourage the development and promotion of insurance products that incentivize environmentally friendly practices. This could involve providing tax breaks or other incentives for insurers offering coverage for sustainable businesses or assets. Research and development support Allocate resources to support research and development and climate risk modeling. This will help insurers better understand and assess the evolving risks associated with climate change, leading to more accurate underwriting and pricing.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Climate Change Initiatives proposed under the Wheeler Department of Insurance Plan. Collaboration with other regulators Collaborate with other regulatory bodies to ensure a coordinated approached climate risk mitigation. This includes working with financial regulators, environmental agencies and other stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategies for addressing climate-related changes. Capacity Building and Training Invest in training programs for insurance professionals to enhance their understanding of climate risks and adaptation strategies. This will enable the industry to respond effectively to the evolving challenges posed by climate change.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Consumer Education and Awareness Implement initiatives to educate consumers about the impact of climate change on insurance and risk mitigation measures. Informed consumers can make better decisions about their insurance coverage and take steps to reduce their own climate-related risks. Regulatory Stress Testing Implement stress testing for insurers to assess their resilience to extreme weather events and other climate-related disasters. This will help identify potential weaknesses in the industry and ensure that insurers are adequately prepared for worst-case scenarios. State, federal and International Cooperation Engage in a state-to-state, federal and international collaborations to address cross-border climate risks. Work with global insurance regulators and organizations to develop consistent standards and share best practices for managing climate-related risks in the insurance industry. Education in Schools Department of Insurance will lead an effort to place a curriculum module at public schools in North Carolina that discusses climate change and how individuals can help lower their carbon footprint and be part of the solution to climate change in North Carolina.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Premium Adjustment Mechanisms Develop mechanisms to adjust insurance premiums based on climate risk. Insurers should be encouraged to factor climate-related risks into their pricing models, and policyholders who adopt sustainable practices should be rewarded with lower premiums. Climate change is real and is affecting the cost of your insurance. Does your candidate for commissioner of insurance have a plan? David Wheeler, does WheelerNCcom backslash plan? That is the extent of David's website. Doing a quick Google search, the only thing that I found that kind of stuck out to me, which I was not able to confirm was an article by the Center Square that was posted by Allen Wooten on December 11th of 2023, and it's entitled Attorney General's Request Moves Candidates in Filing Process. It lists a tweet by David Wheeler on I guess now X on Monday, December 11th 2023. The social media page for David Wheeler's candidacy as an insurance commissioner was still active. It included a post saying he would withdraw from the race on Tuesday, december 12th 2023. The article states in a late Sunday evening post to social media, david Wheeler says he'll withdraw from the North Carolina election race to be insurance commissioner because the Attorney General has asked a state lawmaker to file.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Wheeler, a Democrat from Spruce Pine, filed December 5th and had campaign since the spring. His post read Friends, I've been working hard since March to beat at-rate-hike-mic-cause. I've exposed him as a terrible POL, poi, corrupt executive and a deadbeat dad. Tonight I learned at Josh Dine has asked Senator Natasha Marcus to run for commissioner of Department of Insurance. As such, I'll withdraw on Tuesday. I did a quick search of X. I am not wholly knowledgeable on X. I was not able to confirm that post whether or not he did, but he is still in the race. So if he did post it. He did not follow through with that and he changed his mind.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

On ballotpedia, david's campaign finance information is available for the 2024 election, which includes states of January 1st 2023. Through December 31st of this year, he's had a total of $28,128 in contributions from 486 unique contributors. His expenditures have totaled $25,315 and $15 with 225 unique payees. David Wheeler did complete ballotpedia's candidate connection survey in 2023. There are a list of numerous questions that he has answered there. If you are interested, you can check out ballotpedia. David Wheeler did as well fill out our North Carolina Deep Dives questionnaire for the 2024 voters guide for the primary election, so you'll be able to access that via our show notes from our website or on social media posts. And that wraps up the race for the North Carolina commissioner of insurance between Natasha Marcus and David Wheeler. That will be on the Democratic ballot.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

You are eligible to vote for one of these candidates. Democracy is the foundation of all we hold dear. We are better as a community, state and nation when we all take part in our civic duty by being informed and casting our vote. The candidates and offices on your ballot can have a major impact on our everyday lives and can have real consequences. They create and enforce our laws, invest in our future wellbeing, fund all the things like our schools and roads, ensure we have safe drinking water and food to put on our tables and advocate on behalf of those they represent, hopefully keeping in mind both the little and the big picture of it all.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Early voting is now going on and will continue through Saturday, march 2nd. Our closest early voting locations will be the WE Hunt Center in Holly Springs and the Hilltop Needmore Town Park and Preserve in Fuquay Varina. The main primary election will be held on Tuesday March 5th. If you vote that day, it's best for you to go to your designated polling place or else some of the races you are eligible to vote for may not show up on the ballot they have available to give you During early voting. Each area in Wake County has all the possible ballots. For Wake County Election day. They will only have the ballot that corresponds directly to that particular precinct. Please remember you now need to bring your photo ID. If you happen to forget or have had some extraordinary circumstance happen, you will have a few different options provided to you, but it will be best and easiest and most efficient to bring it with you If, for some reason you haven't registered to vote yet. You may register and vote at the same time during early voting at any one of the sites. March 2nd will be the last day to register to vote for this primary election, and that brings this episode of the NC Deep Dive to a close.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

Make sure you check out all the other relevant episodes for the 2024 primary election at www. ncdeepdive. com, apple Podcasts, spotify, audible or wherever you currently listen to your podcasts. I will be including helpful links for each candidate and voting in general on our website's show notes, including our NC Deep Dives Voters Guide for the 2024 primary election. We were blessed to have many candidates take the time to share their thoughts and speak to voters within Southern Wake County. The Voters Guide is arranged by party affiliation and organized in such a way to make it relatively easy to find the races or candidates you might be interested in. All candidates websites are linked. If I was able to find one, I also consciously chose to arrange the Voters Guide starting at the end of the ballot.

Amanda Benbow Lunn:

So often we are aware of the larger races, yet don't hear much about, or take the time to learn about, the smaller races. As always, if you have any questions, concerns or topics you'd like to share. You may contact us via social media or our email at ncdeepdive@gmail. com. Thank you for engaging with this episode and becoming a more informed citizen. Democracy is a team sport. Together, we make democracy work and our communities a better place to work, play and live. Your vote matters, your voice matters. You matter Until next time, my friends. Namaste the love and light in me, sees and honors the love and light in you.

NC Commissioner of Insurance Race
Senator Natasha Marcus
Senator Natasha's Endorsements and Campaign
David Wheeler
Endorsements for David Wheeler
David's Campaign Promises and Initiatives
NC Commissioner of Insurance Race