By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Gov. Nikki Haley has picked a new chief of South Carolina's Department of Insurance.
Haley on Tuesday said she had selected Ray Farmer to head up the Cabinet agency. He takes over Dec. 3 after retiring as a vice president at the American Insurance Association.
Farmer is from Atlanta. He has previously served on the board of the Georgia Arson Control Program.
The Department of Insurance has had an interim leader since former director David Black abruptly resigned last December without explanation. Haley named Gwen Fuller-McGriff acting director the next day.
Haley says it took so long to fill the role because she wanted to hire someone from the private sector, but found it difficult to attract the right candidate who was willing to take a government salary.
"It's a great day in South Carolina because we have been working to find not a good but a great insurance director," said Gov. Haley. "And that's what we found in Ray Farmer. We had a lot of people who were very good, but we wanted, like the rest of the Cabinet, to have a business person in the job. What excites me most is he knows policy. He knows what works in other states, and he knows what doesn't. He knows what businesses are looking for: what earns them a good profit margin, but yet still ensures they deliver good customer service."