Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell has nominated Joel Scott Ario, the chief insurance regulator for the state of Oregon and a former consumer advocate, to serve as Pennsylvania’s insurance commissioner.
As the insurance administrator with the Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services since 1994, Ario has promoted new consumer protections involving credit scoring and other risk-rating practices; advanced health reforms that give small businesses better pooling options; built a coalition between employers, insurers and providers to create greater transparency in health care pricing by insurers and hospitals; and streamlined producer licensing and the review process for new insurance products.
Earlier in his career, Ario was executive director of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group, or OSPIRG, where he led legislative and ballot campaigns for pollution prevention, recycling and campaign finance reforms.
“I was a consumer advocate before I became a regulator in 1994,” said Ario. “I approach issues from a consumer protection perspective, with the understanding that an innovative and vibrant insurance marketplace serves both consumer and business interests.”
Pending confirmation by the Pennsylvania Senate, Ario will succeed Randy Rohrbaugh, who was named acting insurance commissioner when Diane Koken resigned in February. Koken served three governors and was the longest-serving insurance commissioner in the state’s modern history.
Ario, 53, earned a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1981. He also holds degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minn.
Ario is active in the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, or NAIC, where he was elected as an officer for three years and currently chairs the health insurance committee. He has been a strong advocate of state-based regulation of insurance.
Source: Gov. Rendell’s Office/Insurance Department
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