BISMARCK — North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Jon Godfread announced Wednesday, Oct. 16, his intention to run for reelection in 2020 at the Republican state headquarters in Bismarck.
During the announcement, Godfread said he looks forward to tackling fraud and new technological challenges in the industry and providing fairness and consistency to consumers in North Dakota.
"At its foundation, insurance is a promise made by a company to be there for consumers when something in their life goes wrong," Godfread said. "As insurance commissioner, it is my distinct honor to make sure those promises made are promises kept."
The insurance commissioner oversees the Insurance Department, which is responsible for educating consumers about the industry, handling complaints and managing licensing for insurance professionals and companies in the state. North Dakota is one of just 11 states where the insurance commissioner is elected rather than appointed.
Godfread beat Democrat Ruth Buffalo and Libertarian Nick Bata with nearly 65% of the vote in 2016.
Last year, Godfread publicly supported Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem's entrance into a Texas lawsuit that sought to overturn the Affordable Care Act, saying the law hurt small-business owners, farmers and ranchers in North Dakota, while making little difference in the rate of uninsured residents, according to the Bismarck Tribune.
The lawsuit is still in the federal court system, but Godfread said regardless of the outcome, he hopes individual states will eventually be given more control over the health insurance industry.
Godfread also fined Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota $125,000 in July after finding that the state's largest health insurer had unjustly denied certain claims relating to mental health and substance abuse.
Prior to running for the position, Godfread served as vice president of governmental affairs for the Greater North Dakota Chamber in Bismarck and played basketball at the University of Northern Iowa and professionally in Germany.
Godfread said he submitted an official height measurement two weeks ago to Guinness World Records that would make him, at nearly 6 foot 11 inches, the world's tallest male politician. The effort to unseat current record-holder Robert Cornegy Jr., a New York City councilman, is mostly for fun but helps raise awareness for his office's work in the state, Godfread said.
The Grand Forks native graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 2005 and earned a Master of Business Administration and law degrees from the University of North Dakota in 2011.