DCBS Media Release
April 28, 2000
New administrator named for state insurance division
(Salem) Oregon Department of Consumer & Business Services Director Mary Neidig today announced the appointment of Joel S. Ario as administrator of the state Insurance Division and deputy insurance commissioner. Neidig, as DCBS director, is the state insurance commissioner. Ario replaces Nancy M. Ellison, who resigned in December.
Ario is currently head of the Insurance Division's consumer protection section, where he leads staff responsible for resolution of complaints against insurers and agents, investigation of violations of the state insurance code, market conduct exams, consumer publications and advocacy, and enforcement functions. He joined the division in July 1995, after serving as executive policy assistant to the DCBS director from April 1994 to July 1995.
Prior to joining DCBS, Ario served as an executive manager and public policy analyst for public interest groups for 13 years. He has served on the boards of the Consumer Federation of America and other non-profit organizations. Ario is a 1981 graduate of Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a 1975 graduate of Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota.
"Joel combines excellent credentials as a consumer advocate and an insightful policy analyst with a solid management background and understanding of the insurance industry in Oregon," Neidig said. "He appreciates the needs of both the insurance-buying public and the companies and agents that serve them, and he knows what it takes to play a constructive role as a regulator in the marketplace."
Neidig said that Ario's appointment will be effective May 1.
The Insurance Division regulates insurance companies and agents doing business in Oregon to make certain consumers are treated fairly and have access to affordable insurance products and services within a healthy insurance marketplace. The division offers a wide variety of publications to help consumers make informed choices about insurance products, and maintains a toll-free message line (1-888-877-4894) for citizens who have questions or complaints about insurance sales and service practices in Oregon. As administrator, Ario will supervise a staff of 94 employees.
In addition to insurance, DCBS regulates financial institutions, securities, building codes, occupational safety and health, workers' compensation and real estate appraisers. It has consumer protection and education programs, and offices and ombudsmen to help consumers, injured workers and businesses.