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HARRISBURG, Pa.Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell last week nominated Joel Ario, the chief insurance regulator for Oregon, to serve as Pennsylvania's insurance commissioner.
Mr. Ario, 53, has been with the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services since 1994 and has been administrator of the Insurance Division since 2000. He has served as vp of the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners and currently chairs its Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee.
If confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate, Mr. Ario will succeed Randy Rohrbaugh, who was named acting insurance commissioner when Diane Koken resigned in February. "Ms. Koken served three governors and was the longest-serving insurance commissioner in the state's modern history," according to the governor's statement.
The Oregon department intends to conduct a nationwide search for to replace Mr. Ario, who is expected to leave in late July, a department spokeswoman said. No acting replacement has been named yet, she said.
"This is a great opportunity for Joel, but a significant loss for Oregon," Cory Streisinger, director of the Oregon department, said in a statement.
Gov. Rendell's statement praised Mr. Ario as "a highly qualified and seasoned administrator with a strong and proven record of fighting to protect the rights and needs of consumers." Mr. Ario's tenure in Oregon "has been marked by collaboration with companies, agents and consumers to ensure that appropriate consumer safeguards are in place, while also preserving the flexibility insurers need to thrive in the fast-changing insurance marketplace," he said.