AUSTIN, Texas — Gov. Greg Abbott has named a former state appeals court judge as Texas’ new insurance commissioner — a powerful post that will have a higher-than-usual profile following Harvey’s destruction.

Abbott’s office announced Kent Sullivan’s appointment Thursday. The position had remained vacant since David Mattax died of cancer in April.

Sullivan is a former justice of the 14th Court of Appeals in Houston and an ex-state district judge. He’s also a former first assistant state attorney general, serving under Abbott, who was Texas attorney general before being elected governor in 2014.

Sullivan will oversee regulation of Texas’ insurance agency. His mandate includes acting as an advocate for consumers.

The Insurance Council of Texas has estimated that insured losses alone from Harvey could approach $19 billion statewide.

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