Hodgen Mainda had to move fast to climb the learning curve in his new role as commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.
Five months after he stepped into the job leading 800 employees who serve 6.8 million Tennesseans, tornados tore through Middle Tennessee, killing 25 people and causing more than $1.5 billion in property loss. For Mainda, severe storms mean time in the field with his team to see the damage and talk with people on the ground.
“My approach has been we need to see firsthand the affected areas,” Mainda says.
Then, just two days after those storms, the first case of COVID-19 was reported in Tennessee.
“We made a hard pivot and engaged all the health insurance companies in the state — eight of them — and issued guidance for covering costs and co-pays,” Mainda says.
One month after that, a line of overnight Easter