Gov. Rick Snyder wasted no time in taking action after his State of State address on Wednesday evening. On Thursday, Snyder signed an executive order creating the Department of Insurance and Financial Service. Through the creation of this department, Snyder hopes to make Michigan’s insurance and financial services a bigger policy focus. The governor’s interest in moving the department to cabinet-level indicates an attempt at diffusing party lines, which is a particularly encouraging shift in light of December’s lame-duck session in the state legislature. By continuing to work with both parties, Snyder can strengthen the path to economic recovery in Michigan.
According to a Jan. 18. article in the Detroit Free Press, the new department will take over the functions of the Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation, which was previously under the Department of Licensing and Regulatory affairs. The department will take effect 60 days after the executive order was signed. The creation of this new department is a positive step for Michigan’s economy. Currently, the state’s insurance and financial industries generate $9 billion in payroll and employ about 150,000 people. Through job creation and regulation of the insurance industry, the implementation of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services should boost these numbers.
The new department is also a symbolic gesture for the state. Large protests in Lansing last month demonstrated that Michigan residents aren’t interested in more partisan pushing in the state legislature. The creation of the department shows Snyder is thinking beyond party rules and is willing to work with both sides of the aisle to improve the state’s economy. Moving past December’s lame-duck session, the governor should continue this bipartisan approach to problem-solving and engage both Democrats and Republicans.