NC insurance commissioner asks Blue Cross NC CEO to resign after DWI, child abuse charges

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GASTONIA, N.C. (WNCT) – State Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey on Wednesday called for the resignation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of NC CEO Patrick Conway, after the insurance company tried to cover-up Conway’s arrest for drunk driving and child abuse charges in June.

On Wednesday at a press conference in Gastonia, Commissioner Causey said this decision follows his examination of the arrest police report and numerous news reports that showed Conway driving in an erratic way, putting his daughters’ and other drivers’ safety in jeopardy.

Causey issued the following statement:

When I put my hand on the Holy Bible and took an oath to serve as North Carolina’s Commissioner of Insurance — I promised myself, my staff and the citizens of this state, that honesty will be the top priority, that this office will be accountable to the people we serve, that we will root out corruption and malfeasance, and that leaders lead.

Over the last few days, it has become apparent to me that there has been a significant breakdown in the corporate governance at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

The efforts by the board of directors to hide the arrest of their CEO for drunk driving and child neglect is very disturbing. When news accounts surfaced of the June 22 incident last week, the board misrepresented to the Department of Insurance the actual arrest — telling me that the incident was without incident and was a routine arrest.

On Tuesday, Sept. 24, news reports showed the arrest was anything but routine and Dr. Conway showed a complete lack of professionalism, respect, and composure for the law enforcement officer and the legal process.

The fact that the board represented to this office otherwise is another example of poor judgment and misinformation that cannot be tolerated.

As Commissioner of Insurance, I cannot move forward with any type of trust and confidence in the CEO at BCBS-NC. I believe the board has been seriously misled and that is very troubling to me.

Furthermore, the board has failed in its duties to protect their policyholders. They have failed to be open and honest with their regulators and more importantly with the people of North Carolina. Dr. Conway demonstrated more than poor decision making by putting his own children at risk as well as the lives of other motorists on the road with him that day. Dr. Conway demonstrated a total lack of professionalism and utter disregard and disdain for our hard-working law enforcement community. As a former military police officer in the U.S. Army, this sickens me.

As a result of this lack of leadership and governance by the CEO and Board of Directors, I am today asking for the resignation of Dr. Patrick Conway as CEO for Blue Cross Blue Shield.

I do not take this action lightly.  It pains me greatly because this tragic incident has put a big dent in the reputation of a good company. But there is no path forward for this office to have a trusting, confident and reliable working relationship with the chief executive officer at Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC.

I can deal with the criminal charges, even as disturbing as they are; what I cannot accept is the cover-up, the misrepresentation of facts, the lack of respect for oversight and regulation of the company and lack of respect for law enforcement officers who are only doing their duty.

This is a very serious matter because BCBS-NC is a $10 billion a year company. I call on the board of directors to fulfill their duty and put this matter behind them by finding a new CEO who can step in to provide the leadership and inspiration that the company needs moving forward.”

By law, the insurance commissioner cannot force a company to fire an employee, they can only provide strong recommendations.

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