We have regressed

We have regressed to the horrors of the 1800s when factory workers had no rights and were worked in terribly dangerous conditions. If they died they were easily replaced. They had no personal value. And here we are again, let them die, there are plenty more of them available. We, the "inspiration of the world." We, the "champions of Christ's teachings.” Really?

— Beth Vannatta, Halstead

COVID-19 disruption

COVID-19 has certainly disrupted the way we as Kansans do business. In my role as insurance commissioner, COVID-19 is not a reason to throw out all of the laws and regulations, it isn't a reason to find temporary solutions, but rather a gentle nudge to find a better way to operate.

In the beginning, that gentle nudge felt more like getting pushed off a cliff, but I am convinced now more than ever that the Insurance Department will be better and stronger, more efficient and effective post-COVID-19 then we were before. This is in large part due to the fabulous staff we have at the department and their ability to problem solve, be creative and think outside-the-box.

Traditionally, government as a whole is adverse to change, but it shouldn't be. Last fall, I shook things up when I moved the department from its home of 37 years to a new building better suited to fit the needs of our combined agency. During the move, we had to figure out how to continue operations while moving our entire office to a new building. So, I believe our department was probably better prepared to take on the COVID-19 crisis than many others.

This situation has demanded rapid change and it is up to those of us in elected positions to ensure that change takes place in a way that positively serves the needs of the people of Kansas. For our part, we have transitioned our team to laptops, reallocated our supplies, utilized our new website to share information, prioritized COVID-19 issues, efficiently distributed the workload to employees, safely scheduled employees in the office and most importantly remained accessible to the public via phone and email.

As your insurance commissioner, I will continue to lead in a way that inspires improvements in service rather than continues a history of stagnant procedures doomed to further complicate government.

As always, if there is something you think can work better or would help other Kansans have a better experience with insurance, please share it with me at kid.commissioner@ks.gov. It is an honor to serve you and your family in the Kansas Insurance Department.

— Vicki Schmdt, commissioner, Kansas Insurance Department