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Illinois names new insurance department director

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Illinois insurance department

Jennifer Hammer has been named the new director of the Illinois Department of Insurance by Gov. Bruce Rauner, effective Jan. 16.

Ms. Hammer most recently served as deputy chief of staff for policy in the Illinois Office of the Governor, overseeing policymaking decisions and analyzing and advising the governor on proposed policy, legislation, and rules and regulations, according to a press release issued by Gov. Rauner’s office on Dec. 23.

Previously, she was the policy adviser for health care and human services and special counsel to the governor, coordinating all health care-related agencies, including the Illinois insurance department, according to the release.

Ms. Hammer worked at the Illinois Chamber of Commerce as the executive director of the healthcare council and vice president and legal counsel of government affairs. She also worked for Springfield, Illinois-based law firm Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes P.C. as an attorney where she practiced insurance defense law, healthcare law, business law and advised clients on legislation such as the Affordable Care Act.

Steve Schneider, vice president for state affairs for the American Insurance Association, Midwest Region in Deerfield, Illinois, welcomed Ms. Hammer’s appointment.

“Illinois is an important insurance state because it is the regulatory home for many of the nation’s largest insurers — based solely upon AIA members’ premium volume it is the fifth largest state,” he said in a statement on Dec. 28. “Illinois’ influence in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners is also noteworthy and enhances the department’s regulatory role on a national level. We look forward to working closely with Director-designee Hammer in the days ahead and wish her much success.”

Ms. Hammer will replace Director Anne Melissa Dowling, who is returning to the private sector this month.

"During the past 18 months, we have debated and defined some of the most pressing issues confronting the industry like the use of automated vehicles, Blockchain, cyber security and the coverage of mental health care," Ms. Dowling said in a statement. "I’m proud to have served as Director of Insurance under Gov. Rauner and leading the department in reclaiming Illinois’ preeminence on the national policy stage."