Illinois Insurance Director J. Anthony Clark has announced he will step down from his post effective Feb. 13, according to the Associated Press. The constraints forced upon the insurance department by the state’s budget and the bother of commuting between Chicago and Springfield—a three-hour drive—were factors in the decision, Clark said.
Clark was appointed to the job less than a year ago by Democratic Gov. Rod Blagojevich, and was handcuffed by Illinois’ budget woes. He told the AP, for example, that he wanted to expand the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program but could not due to the scarcity of funds.
Insurance industry lobbyists have complained steadily that Clark, a former life insurance counsel for Montgomery Ward, though hardly antagonistic or clueless about the insurance business was nonetheless quiescent with regard to the combination of department budget cuts and industry fees and taxes enacted last year.
Clark, who lived and worked primarily in Chicago but commuted twice a week to Springfield, was originally in line for a judgeship before landing in the insurance director’s office.
He did not oversee any major initiatives related to the property/casualty insurance industry in Illinois, though he did testify in support of a law to more heavily regulate the use of credit by insurers. The Illinois Insurance Department has 400 employees and the director receives $113,200 a year in salary.
Gov. Blagojevich has not yet announced a replacement.
Previous stories on this topic:
—Former Life Insurance Counsel Named Ill. Insurance Director
—Ill. Insurance Director Clark May Face Another Budget Crunch.