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Morigeau, Winsor face off in Democratic primary for auditor: Mike Winsor

 

Mike Winsor

Montana Auditor's Office attorney Mike Winsor is facing Rep. Shane Morigeau of Missoula in the Democratic primary race to take the place of Auditor Matt Rosendale of the state auditor race.

"I am running for this office because I want to protect the interest of insurance consumers and Montana investors," Winsor said. "I think that's the statutory mission of the state auditor's office, and I don't think we can afford to lose sight of that."

First-term Auditor Rosendale is running in the Republican primary race for the U.S. House.

Winsor said he is the best candidate because he has been a consumer advocate for nearly 23 years of legal practice.

He added that he started out as a plaintiff attorney for about nine years then worked for the state auditor's office as an attorney doing cases revolving around insurance fraud and securities fraud.

"The state auditor's office is charged by the Constitution to protect insurance consumers and investors in the state of Montana," he said.

The insurance industry is the second-largest industry in the state of Montana, Winsor said, adding that it's an industry that touches everybody's lives.

"Insurance is a good thing. We all need insurance, but we also need regulation," he said. "... The laws and regulations that we have to protect insurance consumers and to protect the industry from unfair methods of competition are designed to create a healthy insurance market in the state of Montana and to protect Montana consumers."

The office itself has a variety of functions, he said, such as a consumer compliance division.

He said that office needs to cut back on bureaucracy which doesn't apply to it.

"It's just ma and pop, your sister and brother working there toward the interest of the consumer, trying to get claims paid and cutting back their jobs or pushing them out," Winsor said. "We just can't outsource the state of Montana, these are folks that are there and they have dedicated themselves to assisting Montana insurance consumers, same thing on the security side."

The insurance industry brings a lot of premium taxes in the state of Montana, Winsor said, and the agency itself is supported by the premium taxes of the insurance companies.

"They basically fund the office to regulate the industry. It is a good thing not a bad thing," he said. "It is a good thing for the people of the state of Montana, and it's a good thing for the insurance companies that do business in the state of Montana because it creates consistency and stability."

He said he will protect consumers by fighting for the rights of insurance consumers and Montana investors.

He added that he thinks the state auditor's office needs to be more proactive to stop some of the fraud before it happens.

"I think one of the things I'd like to do at the state auditor's office is take a more proactive stance toward that sort of  kind of thing and I'd like to see people protected from that," Winsor said. "... I think we can get out there and make a difference as far as protecting people and following our constitutional duty to protect Montana insurance consumers and Montana investors."

Winsor's first interview was cut short and due to conflicts he was unable to resume the interview and did not respond to emailed requests to answer questions about the Affordable Care Act, Montana Land Board and Medi-Share.

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When and where born: Not provided, 51 years old.

Graduated from Capital High School, Helena,

Bachelor of Fine Arts, Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, N.Y.; Juris Doctorate, Oklahoma City University

Winsor Law Firm, personal injury, product liability October 1997-September 2006; special assistant attorney general insurance and securities regulatory attorney, Office of the Montana State Auditor, September 2006-February 2020

 

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