updated 11/12/2010 11:12:57 AM ET 2010-11-12T16:12:57

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has appointed an acting insurance commissioner, days before the state's insurance department is scheduled to hear a request for rate increases from one of Connecticut's major health insurers.

Rell's office confirmed that Barbara C. Spear, who has worked for the agency since 2008, was officially appointed on Friday.

She will fill the job held by Thomas Sullivan, who has been the state's insurance commissioner since April 2007. Friday marks his final day on the job.

Sullivan agreed to hold a public hearing Wednesday on a request to increase premiums from Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. He said he scheduled the hearing because there's been a series of rate increase requests from the insurer, which has a large market share in Connecticut.

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