State gets new (acting) insurance commissioner

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has appointed Barbara C. Spear to serve as acting insurance commissioner.

Spear replaces Thomas Sullivan, who is leaving the post for a job in the private sector.

For the past two-and-a-half years, Spear, a Simsbury resident, has served as director of consumer services and business regulation for the department, overseeing consumer affairs, market conduct, licensing and the department’s fraud and investigations unit. She will maintain that job in addition to her new role.

Although the Rell administration is winding down, Spear’s department still has many key decisions to make, including approving requests for health insurance rate changes. On Wednesday, the department will hold a public hearing on a requested rate increase for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield.