Acting Governor Richard J. Codey has accepted the resignation of Banking and Insurance Commissioner Holly C. Bakke.
“I appreciate that Commissioner Bakke stayed on during the transition, and I recognize the importance her family played in her decision to resign,” Codey said. “Commissioner Bakke’s commitment to improving insurance, banking and real estate services for New Jersey’s consumers will be greatly missed.
In her resignation letter, Bakke indicated her desire to spend more time with her son and to become more involved with her community. Her resignation is effective March 1. She was appointed three years ago.
“Over three years ago, I took an oath to justly perform all my duties, under the authority of the people to the best of my ability,” Bakke wrote. “Today, I can look back and know that, with the support of two governors, the Legislature, and the knowledge, skill and wisdom of Department of Banking and Insurance staff, that auto insurance consumers are now in the driver’s seat, the state’s most vulnerable citizens are protected from predatory loans, bank and insurance services are strong, an initiatives aimed at making healthcare more affordable and available are underway.”
During Bakke’s tenure as commissioner, New Jersey enacted auto insurance reforms that included tough penalties for auto insurance fraud, consumer protections and steps to put downward pressure on rates for good drivers.
The reforms prompted two carriers to enter New Jersey – Mercury and GEICO, the nation’s fifth largest private passenger auto insurer and encouraged State Farm to remain in the state. The reforms have led to more than $300 million in rate reductions for more than two million New Jersey drivers. In addition, 41,000 previously uninsured drivers are now insured and contributing to the system and 1,200 new agents are now serving consumers across the state.
The department also began initiatives aimed at making healthcare coverage in New Jersey more affordable. The work of a healthcare task force addressing the problems of the uninsured and the challenge of the individual and small group healthcare providers is now under review.
Bakke was appointed in February 2002 by then-Governor James E. McGreevey.
From 1989 to February 2002, Bakke served as executive director of the New Jersey Property-Liability Insurance Guaranty Association, the New Jersey Surplus Lines Insurance Guaranty Fund and the New Jersey Medical Malpractice Reinsurance Association. She previously served as Special Deputy Commissioner of Insurance Litigation Practices for the New Jersey Department of Insurance and as an administrator for the New Jersey judiciary.