Insurance Commissioner candidate resigns from job

- Controversial Insurance Commission candidate Jim Beck has resigned from his job with the Georgia Underwriting Association. GUA is  a state created insurance company for people who can't get insurance in the open market.

His resignation followed a FOX 5 I-Team investigation of his work history which included working a full time state job while running the Association.

Jim Beck, and several GUA board members say Beck has talked with them for months about when would be the best time to step down and campaign full time.  But, some board members, who applaud Beck's work at the Association, were alarmed at the findings of our investigation of his work history.

Our investigation found in 2012, when Beck took over as GM of the state created insurance company Georgia Underwriting Association, he also took a full time state job as a victim-witness advocate for a district attorney's office in west Georgia.

Beck says he took the job at the DA's office after he left the Insurance Commissioner's office so he could keep his state insurance for his wife's pre-existing medical condition. 

Beck says we didn’t know what his agreement with the GUA was or whether it was full time or part time.

That wasn't the only time Beck held two jobs at once. Earlier, in 2005, we found Beck was lobbying state legislators for a private company, Nationwide Insurance,while working full time at a state agency - the Department of Community affairs. That lasted four months.   

Beck insists he was only a consultant for the state.

“I sent them an invoice and they paid me. I sent an invoice every 2 weeks and they wrote me a check,” Beck told me.    

His boss at the time told us Beck was fulltime and earned a fulltime salary.

We wanted to know what the GUA board of directors thought of our findings. And, why did Jim Beck resign? I spoke to 7 board members - 6 asked that their names not be used because of the political nature of the report.

Most were complimentary of Beck's work, but were surprised to learn he was working another job while running their company.

One board member said he was shocked to find out about Beck's two jobs at the same time. "It's pretty obvious taxpayers got ripped off, the question is to what extent,"  the board member told me.

Three board members said Beck had discussed for months with the board about the best time to resign and campaign full time for Insurance commissioner. But one board member added - after seeing our investigation, if Beck hadn't resigned now - the board "would have had a lot of digging to do." 

Jack Hardman was the only board member to talk on the record. He told me he felt Beck was an "extremely good manager" and resigned to "pursue his campaign." He said he didn't know Beck had another job with the state for two years but added, "I'm fine with that."

Candidates like Jim Beck are qualifying for their state races this week. Last week, 6 days after our report aired, Beck sent a letter to the board. He wrote he was resigning from his job as general manager, saying "it has become apparent that this race is going to be highly politicized."

Beck added that since the board is appointed by current Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens, who supports another candidate, he did "not wish to place any undue burden on you or your companies."

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