Butler County Times Gazette
  • Election 2014: Powell wants to bring experince to insurance commissioner position

  • David Powell of El Dorado has filed to run for insurance commissioner
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  • With 37 years experience in the insurance business, David Powell of El Dorado knows the ins and outs of the industry and has even been working on developing some programs to benefit insurance users.
    Now he has filed to run for insurance commissioner, having run in 2010 as well.
    “It was a good experience,” he said of the last election. “When you get 113,000 votes it makes you feel pretty good.”
    That number was not enough to earn him the seat in that race though.
    Powell, who holds multi-line licenses, has several important topics he will address as insurance commissioner, some he has already started as an insurance agent.
    “I have been fighting health care (Obamacare) since before it passed,” he said. “I have programs I am working on now to improve insurance in Kansas.
    “The job (insurance commissioner) is that of a regulator. I want to take that a step further and improve insurance for businesses, families and individuals in the state.”
    By doing that he believes the state will be able to attract more businesses and grow the economy.
    One program he has worked with is Atlas M.D. in Wichita, a group that offers health care to those who join their organization. Their services include regular doctor visits and routine health care, and they do not take insurance.
    One concern they had for their members was if they needed to have surgery or be hospitalized, they would need insurance. Powell worked with them to create a policy that covered those things at a fraction of the cost of normal insurance.
    “People are in better health,” he said of those who are part of Atlas M.D. “They have cut the cost of insurance as much as half.”
    He said most of the cost of insurance rates is not from the big claims, but rather the multiple smaller claims filed from doctor visits.
    He was able to cut premiums in half three years ago for one of their members, Johnson Garden Center.
    “We feel we’ve designed a blueprint for healthcare for the future,” Powell said.
    He also has a plan for the Affordable Care Act, also called Obamacare.
    His plan would provide for better healthcare, lower cost of insurance and healthier people.
    He is now working with doctors and insurance agents, talking about the plan he created along with Atlas M.D.
    “I am working with doctors and insurance agents all over the United States want to go to that model because they are tired of fighting the government. We have doctors who were ready to retire (because of the healthcare law) and now they have a new lease on life. This is practicing medicine the way they thought they would in medical school.
    Page 2 of 3 - “I’m developing a program to reduce the cost of everyone’s insurance in Kansas,” he continued.
    He also wants to reduce auto and home insurance for people.
    Powell pointed out no one else running for the office is working on a plan, something he said needed to be done because the new healthcare was going to affect the lives and livelihood of everyone in Kansas.
    He also has written articles on how to avoid the taxes and penalties of the new law, and he has developed a Web site with doctors and insurance agents using his new plan.
    “We’re duplicating what we started here and it’s expanded nationally,” he said.
    He also is working on a series of new insurance products, which would reduce the cost of auto and home insurance, as well as working with the highway patrol and sheriff’s offices to get uninsured drivers off the road. His new method allows officers to know if a person is uninsured without stopping the vehicle.
    His experience and programs are something he feels the office needs.
    “Kansas hasn’t had an insurance commissioner with an insurance background for more than 20 years,” Powell said.
    He said people say if they served on the Insurance Commission that qualifies them, but he has testified before the commission before and has gotten the “deer in the headlights” look from them on some topics.
    “I have spent 37 years earning the trust of everyday Kansans,” he continued. “You can’t be successful for 37 years unless you have that trust.”
    In addition to his work in the insurance field, Powell taught at El Dorado High School for several years, starting the swim program there. He just retired as the diving coach a little over a year ago.
    After leaving the teaching field, Powell began in insurance in 1978.
    “I had a passion for teaching, I had a passion for coaching, I have a passion for insurance,”he said. “I feel like it’s time Kansas had an insurance commissioner who really knows insurance, all insurance.”
    He said this election is important with everything that is happening in Washington, D.C.
    “The administration is not only attacking health insurance and senior insurance, they’re trying to take over the casualty and the life side,” he said. “I feel I am ready to meet these challenges head on. I want to get the federal government out of insurance as much as possible. Most of the administration doesn’t have a clue what insurance is all about.”
    Page 3 of 3 - An example of this is the government wants to tax the build-up of life insurance. He said people can pay life insurance in advance so they don’t have higher rates as they get older.
    “They (the government) looks at that as an investment,” he said. “It’s a beautiful project and if they get involved they will destroy it. We’ve got to get government out of these things they don’t understand.”
    Julie Clements can be reached at jclements@butlercountytimesgazette.com.
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