Update: Governor Nikki Haley has named Gwen Fuller-McGriff as acting director of the insurance department. Fuller-McGriff has been serving as the department’s director of legal, legislative and external affairs.
South Carolina Department of Insurance director David Black has resigned 11 months after he was appointed by Governor Nikki Haley, the AP reported Wednesday.
Black sent an email to agency employees Wednesday, informing them he had made the decision last week. He did not give a reason for stepping down.
The Department of Insurance had recently come under fire over its handling of federal grants meant to help set up a statewide health insurance exchange in South Carolina. As director of the agency, Black served on the Health Planning Committee specifically set up to determine how or if South Carolina would move forward on the exchanges. The committee eventually decided to opt out.
Several advocacy groups criticized recently-revealed emails from Governor Nikki Haley to other members of the committee that seem to indicate Haley did not want the committee to set up the exchanges. A Charleston Post & Courier report that uncovered the emails did not mention Black.
An audit of the Department of Insurance in October found it had spent only a fraction of $2.4 million in federal grants that were supposed to help the state transition under the new health care law.
U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has asked the federal government to look into the Health Planning Committee’s handling of the grants. Harkin questioned whether Haley “exploited” the funds for political purposes. Haley’s spokesman Rob Godfrey called Harkin’s accusations a “joke.”
Black previously led Liberty Life Insurance in Greenville for six years before his appointment to the agency. Wednesday’s email did not indicate if he has any future plans.