State insurance commissioner issues apology following reports of abusive behavior toward staff

Mar 4, 2022, 9:59 AM
Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler...
Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. (Office of the Insurance Commissioner)
(Office of the Insurance Commissioner)

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler issued an apology on Thursday, following allegations that he had mistreated his staff.

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Word first surfaced in a report from the Northwest News Network, detailing allegations from current and former staff members that Kreidler had engaged in a pattern of abusive behavior. One former employee claimed that Kreidler’s office has been in “disarray,” while another spoke of “many instances of bad behavior.”

“I’m talking about meanness, deliberately cutting people down publicly to humiliate them, not letting bygones be bygones,” a third former employee alleged.

Kreidler published a lengthy statement Thursday afternoon, admitting that he has “work to do” regarding his treatment of employees.

“I care about everyone who works with me at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner,” he said. “I deeply regret that some of my behavior and actions have taken attention away from the good work we do on behalf of insurance consumers. We hold each other to high standards, and I am not above those.”

“I understand the allegations that have been made and while I won’t address them here individually, I want people to know that I take these matters very seriously and recognize that I must do better,” he continued. “I appreciate the confidence of the people who voted for me and intend to fulfill my commitment to the people of Washington state.”

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This has at least one state lawmaker calling on Kreidler to resign, with Republican state Sen. Jeff Wilson claiming that “this behavior problem appears to have affected (Kreidler’s) conduct of his official duties.”

Republicans in the state Legislature previously called for Kreidler’s resignation in September of 2021, after he likened Texas Republicans to the Taliban following the passage of a restrictive abortion law.

Kreidler was re-elected as the state’s insurance commissioner in 2020 by a 65% to 34% margin over Republican Chirayu Avinash Patel, having served in that role for over two decades.

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State insurance commissioner issues apology following reports of abusive behavior toward staff