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2024 Montana Primary elections
Montana politics, elections and legislative news

Q&A: John Jay Willoughby, Republican Candidate for State Auditor

John Jay Willoughby

We are gathering information from all statewide candidates as a resource for the 2024 Primary Elections. Responses were limited to 200 words per question. Political attacks may have been removed, but otherwise, the responses are published unedited.


What is your full name as it will appear on the ballot?

John Jay Willoughby

What is your age?

63

Where do you live?

Winston, MT

What is your education background?

High School Graduate

North Dakota Peace Officers Training Graduate & Licensed

North Dakota State University, did not graduate of obtain a degree

Please list your current and previous occupations.

Retired from Law Enforcement after serving the citizens of North Dakota for 20 Years

Owned and Managed Retail Business in North Dakota/ Prior Owner of Bad Boy Bail Bonds Montana, and currently Owner/CEO of Willoughby Insurance Services LLC Located in Helena Montana.

What motivated you to seek the office of State Auditor?

I’ve been in the Insurance Industry now for 25 years and this office has always been used as a Political steppingstone by whomever has occupied it regardless of party. I think it’s high time we put an Auditor in place that has worked in the insurance industry and isn’t a Politician. I have no desire to seek any other office so my attention would be strictly on the Montana Consumer and how we can best serve them in the Auditor’s Office.

What experience do you have in regulating or working in the insurance and securities Industries?

I’ve been in the Insurance Business for the past 25 years. I know what the consumers’ concerns are and what they are going through in these challenging times. I also understand what the insurance carriers are going through with skyrocketing claims and the rising costs of housing and vehicle repairs. We have to find a way to control rates but yet provide a quality product to the general public. We need to work to find more quality insurance carriers to want to do business in Montana and provide not only competition but a broader range or products to our consumers. I have the relationships with numerous carriers already and my familiarity with the insurance industry allows me to be far more qualified for this office then anyone else that is running.

How would you approach the Auditor's consumer protection role protecting Montanans, specifically senior citizens, against fraud and scams?

I believe my 20 years in Law Enforcement provides me with many tools to help combat those bad actors that seek to defraud and take advantage of not only our elderly but all Montana consumers. I’ve worked on large scale investigations in my past and being able to recognize fraudulent activity would be paramount in my administration. We also need to continue to educate our public and make them aware of the types of scams that are out there. Education and being proactive with the community is absolutely essential. Communication and Public Awareness should and will be a Statewide focus under my administration.

What is the most important issue facing Montana that this office can address and what is your plan for it?

I don’t believe there is only one single issue that needs to be addressed, I believe there are many issues. The topic I’m receiving the most input from Montanan’s is the huge rate increases taking place across the state in every form of insurance being offered. We have seen rate increases from 20% to as high as 70% in Home Insurance rates. Auto Rates are up 15% to 50% and I can go on down the line business Insurance rates, farm & ranch, workers compensation and virtually every other type of insurance has seen double digit increases. [EDITOR'S NOTE: According to data from S&P Market Intelligence, Montana homeowner's insurance rates increased by an average of 17% from 2022 to 2023. Auto insurance rates increased by an average of 19% over the same period.]

This is creating a true hardship on Montanan’s especially our fixed income and elderly. People are afraid they may lose their homes because they can’t afford the insurance. I promise to make sure we make every Insurance carrier justify the rate increases they request and negotiate to the best of our ability to make those increases as minimal as possible. The Auditors office will also be actively pursuing more insurance carriers to come to Montana to do business. More quality carriers will result in more competition and that will result in better prices for our consumers.

What should the state Land Board prioritize as it manages state trust lands?

The Land Board needs to make sure that these lands remain open to the Montanan’s that own them. I’m a firm believer that State Land is Public Land. I also believe that it’s the Land Boards job to make sure that we remain good stewards of these lands. We are charged with making sure the revenue from these lands goes to public schools and institutions and therefore need to make sure we are maximizing the revenue these lands generate. We owe that stewardship of both the land and the revenue to those education systems and institutions these lands were put in place for.

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