Sununu taps assistant commissioner to take over state Insurance Department 

Monitor staff
Published: 5/2/2018 12:21:58 AM

Gov. Chris Sununu plans to nominate Assistant Commissioner John Elias to take over the state Insurance Department, replacing Commissioner Roger Sevigny after 16 years in the post, the governor’s office announced Tuesday.

Sevigny, who announced his retirement in March, is set to step down in mid-June.

Elias was appointed assistant commissioner in April 2016, entering the public realm after years in the insurance industry outside of New Hampshire. Originally from Ohio, Elias spent seven years working for Westfield Insurance Co. and focusing on employment insurance, according to a resume provided by the governor’s office. He later became vice president of underwriting at Safe Auto Insurance Company in Columbus in 2007, and in 2013 he started his own insurance consultancy, JP Elias Inc., which he ran until selling it in 2015.

He came to New England in 2014 as vice president of Great Falls Insurance Company in Maine, and was made property and casualty director at the New Hampshire Insurance in early 2016. As assistant commissioner, Elias oversaw the property and casualty units, fraud unit and business unit, according to the resume.

If approved for the department’s top post, Elias would be tested quickly. Under Sevigny’s leadership, the department oversaw the implementation of the federal individual insurance market under the Affordable Care Act, bringing in insurance companies to participate and offer plans. But in recent years those insurers faced high costs, driving some to jack up premium prices and others to leave the market entirely.

An overhaul to the state’s Medicaid expansion program, if approved by the Legislature this month, would move some of the costlier patients in the market onto a managed care system. That is expected to alleviate conditions for those on the market who don’t receive subsidies and who were projected to face premium spikes this year averaging 52 percent. Still with uncertainty in Washington over the future of the overall law, New Hampshire will need a strong hand to weather any changes.

Elias could not be immediately reached; Sununu did not provide a statement with his announcement.

The nomination requires approval of the Executive Council and is expected to be formally put forward at the council meeting Wednesday. A hearing for Elias by councilors will be set for a later date.

(Ethan DeWitt can be reached at, or on Twitter at @edewittNH.)
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