Steps have been taken to make the Maryland Insurance Division a more aggressive monitor of insurance companies, according to its commissioner since 1983, Edward J. Muhl.
"We have taken the most tenacious, nastiest, meanest individual in our financial section," Muhl said, "and put him in charge with specific instructions that, dammit, we have got to be in a position of fully protecting the citizens of this state." The division's financial section oversees the licensing and conducts the financial examinations of insurance companies.
In addition, Muhl said he has asked for more money and manpower for his agency in order to have "Class A-1 regulation."
At present, Muhl has a staff of 129, including two actuaries, and a budget of $5 million to monitor and regulate the insurance industry in Maryland. The division reviews the annual financial statements filed by the 1,400 companies now licensed to sell insurance in the state and conducts financial examinations of the 85 Maryland-based insurance companies every three to five years. For fiscal 1987, which begins July 1, Muhl is scheduled to get 15 more people and $400,000 in additional funds, enabling the division to install its first computer system.
Muhl, 41, joined the state insurance division in January 1982 as deputy commissioner. Previously, Muhl had been director of claims for the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, a state-operated program that provides insurance for uninsured drivers. He had also worked for Nationwide Insurance Co. Six months after arriving at the insurance division, Muhl was named acting commissioner, to replace Birrane, who resigned. Muhl, who was appointed insurance commissioner June 1, 1983, is not an actuary or an accountant. "So I rely on the troops down here," he said, "on what is an asset, what is a liability and where things properly go."
Muhl said he considers himself an advocate for the residents of Maryland. He said he hopes that this approach "has permeated to all the troops, right down to the clerks."