New TWIA Head Has Big Job Ahead of Him

by Matthew Glans on April 15, 2011

This week the Texas Windstorm Insurance Association hired a new interim head for the state run windstorm insurer.  John Polak, the former vice president of specialty and affinity markets at National Interstate Insurance Co. was hired by the TWIA board to replace Jim Oliver, who is currently on unpaid administrative leave as a result of a state takeover of the agency and an investigation into fraud allegations.

The Texas Watchdog, an online publication and watchdog group, recently wrote an article on Polak’s appointment and the circumstances which lead to Oliver’s ouster. Eli Lehrer was quoted in the story, commenting on the challenges the new head of TWIA would face.

“The replacing of a state insurer’s manager is not uncommon following a large storm, said Eli Lehrer, a vice president at the conservative Heartland Institute. And often a new leader without the baggage and controversy of a besieged manager can help change things around, he said.

“I would think that TWIA is working to depopulate its book of business,” Lehrer said. “And in that case, established connections in the insurance industry would help, because they would be looking to agencies that are willing to take some of these policies.”

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