Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that Jeffrey Bragg, his former pick for insurance commissioner who faced questions from Cabinet members about a Palm Beach Post story, has been appointed Secretary of the state’s Department of Elder Affairs.
The appointment is effective Sept. 23. Bragg replaces Sam Verghese, who announced he will be leaving the agency to pursue opportunities in the private sector.
A former state ombudsman for long term care, Brian Lee, wondered how well Bragg’s credentials, largely in U.S. flood and terrorism insurance, fit the job at hand.
“It would seem that the millions of seniors who call Florida home are tiring of elected officials who continually make a mockery of the agency that’s supposed to best represent their interests to state leaders,” said Lee, executive director of the advocacy group Families For Better Care.
“Florida can do a better job for seniors,” Lee said.
Gov. Scott cited Bragg’s more than 40 years of experience in the public and private sectors, and said he is “a proven leader who is uniquely qualified” for the job.
“His experience as well as his management skills will bring new ideas to the department,” Scott said in a statement. “I am confident he will be a great advocate for the elderly in our state.”
Bragg served as the executive director of the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program at the U.S. Department of Treasury from 2003 until 2014. In addition to private-sector work in insurance, he served from 1981 until 1986 under the Reagan Administration as administrator for the National Flood Insurance Program.
Cabinet members deadlocked on a choice for insurance commissioner this spring after Bragg faced questions on a Post story about a lawsuit claiming he misled investors in a Florida flood insurance venture. The suit was later settled.
In response to another question, Bragg told Attorney General Pam Bondi he was unfamiliar with navigators, government-paid helpers under the Affordable Care Act. The Cabinet eventually selected deputy insurance commissioner David Altmaier for the top job.